In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Wednesday, British American Tobacco Chief Marketing Officer Kingsley Wheaton called CBD “an exciting growth area” for the company’s “business for the future.”
British American is the world’s second-largest tobacco company in the world by market capitalization behind Philip Morris.
“We draw a very big distinction between CBD and other forms of cannabis. We’re interested in CBD. But I think the bigger point is we’re trying to build the portfolio of the future for our business. We’re trying to build the brands of the future. We’re trying to meet consumer needs that smoking used to meet with a new transformed portfolio.” – Wheaton, “Squawk Box,” Feb. 17, 2021
The company’s brands include American Spirit, Camel, Pall Mall, Rothman’s, Newport, Lucky Strike, Kent, and Dunhill cigarettes, oral tobacco brands Camel Snus and Grizzly, and vape and non-combustible brands Vuse, Vype, Glo, and Velo.
Vuse launched a CBD vaping product pilot in Manchester, England last month that comes in two strengths and three flavors. Wheaton said the program is helping the company learn and understand the potential for a CBD product and “indeed signaled” the company is seeking to meet consumer needs beyond its traditional tobacco business.
In January, the world’s third-largest tobacco company, Altria Group, registered in Virginia to lobby on cannabis policy. Last year the company hired Denver, Colorado-based Brownstein Hyatt Farber Shreck, one of the nation’s top cannabis and hemp law firms, to lobby Congress on federal policies related to CBD and “non-tobacco excise taxes.” Altria owns 45% of Canadian licensed producer Cronos Group after investing $1.8 billion in the company in 2018. It also filed for two cannabis vaporizer technology patents in 2020.
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