Tobacco giant Phillip Morris — the international firm behind Marlboro-brand cigarettes — is warming up to the idea of entering the cannabis industry with what would likely be smoke-free cannabis products, according to a Bloomberg report.
In a recent interview, Phillip Morris’ CEO Andre Calantzopoulos said they are weighing the potential of a future cannabinoid-based offering. Specifically, the company is currently looking at cannabis’s efficacy/toxicity and is weighing the differences between pharmaceutical and consumer cannabis products. However, the still-nascent market’s lack of regulations has kept the company in only the planning stage, he said.
“We are doing all this work and will determine one day what avenues to pursue. But our priority is what we’re doing with our smoke-free products, and that’s where I would stay on cannabis.” — Calantzopoulos, in an interview with Bloomberg News
Phillip Morris announced a new “Beyond Nicotine” strategy earlier this year that will involve botanical-based products and a pivot away from cigarettes and smoking in general; they also teased the idea of sleep aid products, as well as offerings to promote calm and/or boosts of energy, during a February meeting of investors.
The Marlboro-maker would not be the first Big Tobacco firm to dabble in the cannabis space: earlier this year, British American Tobacco Chief Marketing Officer Kingsley Wheaton called CBD “an exciting growth area” for the company. And in 2018, Altria Group Inc. — the U.S.-based distributor of Marlboro cigarettes — invested a whopping $1.8 billion into The Cronos Group, a Canada-based cannabinoid producer and manufacturer.
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