We knew it had to happen.
One of the largest tobacco companies in North America, which happens to be the parent company for Philip Morris USA, announced the world’s first “Big Tobacco” investment into the cannabis space in the form of a whopping $1.8 billion, CNN reported.
Altria will have a 45 percent stake in the in Ontario-based cannabis producer, the Cronos Group, with the option to increase its share to 55 percent over the next five years.
Cronos said the exclusive partnership will give it additional financial resources, regulatory expertise and product development and commercialization capabilities to tap international cannabis opportunities.
“The proceeds from Altria’s investment will enable us to more quickly expand our global infrastructure and distribution footprint, while also increasing investments in R&D and brands that resonate with our consumers,” Cronos CEO Mike Gorenstein said in a press release.
“We believe that Cronos Group’s excellent management team has built capabilities necessary to compete globally, and we look forward to helping Cronos Group realize its significant growth potential.”
As the continuing legal ambiguity in the US cannabis industry keeps potential American investors from putting their money where they’d probably like to, cash is heading north of the border where the legal market is booming.
Altria is the latest US company to move to Canada where they will join other big companies such as the liquor giant Constellation Brands.
Constellation Brands, the brewer of Corona beer invested $4 billion in Canada’s Canopy Growth earlier this year, which is the largest investment into the cannabis space, so far.
The booze and tobacco industry apparently waits for no one.