Tobacco Is Investing In Cannabis: 2022 Update From Philip Morris, Altria, & More

by greenrush

The times, they are a-changin'. 25 years ago, tobacco was all the rage, but now cigarettes are becoming a thing of the past. And cannabis? Well, cannabis is booming, so there’s no need to ask yourself, “Are there weed cigarettes near me?” anymore. 

At the beginning of 2016, California legalized marijuana for recreational use and is set to become the biggest market for weed in the U.S. Not to be left behind, big-name tobacco companies are investing in cannabis.

There's no doubt that tobacco companies have been keeping a close eye on weed for a long time. Cannabis has the inherent ability to be a serious competitor to tobacco, but it can also be incorporated into tobacco products. 

Big tobacco companies have kept this notion on their radar for years, anticipating changes to laws that could propel cannabis to the top. And now, it looks like that's finally happening.

However, it's important to remember that cannabis isn't federally legal (yet) and, as such, tobacco companies are still a bit wary. Still, investing in cannabis now is sure to give these companies a big return if and when cannabis is legalized on the federal level. 

Tobacco companies are taking small steps to ensure they have an edge when it comes to cannabis legalization. Here’s what you should know about it.

Philip Morris

Philip Morris International, based in Switzerland, has bought a patent for GMO plants with higher terpenes. This is pretty big news and a strong indication that big business expects cannabis to do really well. It looks like Philip Morris marijuana cigarettes are imminent!

Additionally, the tobacco giant has invested funds in the Isreaeli company Syqe Medical, reportedly to secure the rights to technology for smokeless ingestion of nicotine and possibly other products, per Bloomberg News. It’s also monitoring the cannabis market in general.


As per Business Wire, tobacco producer and distributor Altria has also thrown its hat into the cannabis ring. The company plunked down a cool $1.8 billion in 2018 to secure ownership of 45% of the Toronto-based Chronos Group. This firm makes and sells cannabis products.

Altria also stepped into the cannabis lobbying game, as noted by Cannabis Wire. The company did so in Virginia in 2021.

Alliance One International

Alliance One International, based out of North Carolina, has already made a major investment in Canadian cannabis. As we've seen, legalization to the north is happening a lot faster than here in the U.S., and companies eager to cash in on cannabis are looking to Canada for a fast return. 

The way things go across the border will also help companies get a better idea of what legalization in the U.S. could mean for their business as well. Alliance One International bought an 80% stake in Goldleaf Pharm Inc., a pot growing facility in Canada.

Imperial Brand

Imperial Brand made an interesting board of directors choice in 2017, appointing the chairman of PharmaCielo, a Canadian supplier of cannabis oil extracts, to their board. This shows that the tobacco giant wants cannabis knowledge and experience on their side.

The company subsequently announced in a 2018 press release that they’ve invested significant funds into Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies, a biotech firm that creates cannabis products. They also gave $125 million to Canada’s Auxly Group in 2019 (via GlobalNewswire).

Casa Verde Capital

Imperial Brands isn’t the only company hedging its bets with Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies. Casa Verde Capital – the cannabis company that the famous musician Snoop Dogg established – has also given substantial funding to the firm, according to a 2018 press release.

British American Tobacco

Not to be left out, British American Tobacco staked its claim in the future of cannabis. They announced in a 2021 press release that they gave cannabis firm Trait Biosciences $25 million to develop products. They also debuted a CBD vape called VUSE CBD Zone that same year.

Will There Be Weed Cigarettes Near me?

Two thing's are for sure, cannabis means big money and companies are taking notice. The question is, will big business take over the cannabis industry completely? Or will there be room for smaller companies to make a name for themselves first?

As for the ethics of Philip Morris weed, it’s arguably ironic that tobacco companies are investing big bucks in cannabis. We know about marijuana is substance for its healing properties; and tobacco  for its harmful effects these days.

It remains to be seen just how much big tobacco will pivot to cannabis, but federal legalization of the product is likely the green light that these companies are watching for.