Big Tobacco just invested $1.8 billion into weed — so how will this affect legalization?
On December 7, 2018, Altria Group, the company that owns Marlboro, bought a 45% stake in Canadian cannabis company Cronos Group for approximately $1.8 billion.
NowThis talks with Erik Altieri, the executive director of NORML, to get his take on what this might mean for legal cannabis in the U.S.
“In American capitalism, when there’s a market that can be made money in, big corporations are going to capitalize on that,” he explained. “It is encouraging to see a huge corporation like Altria jump in such a serious way.”
Altieri said that the corporation’s acts indicate that they don’t think the drug can remain a Schedule 1 substance much longer, and that it will become more normalized in the marketplace. And although most Americans see legal weed as a good thing, a move like this could have a big impact on how it’s done.
“As you’re seeing now, with the debate in places like New Jersey and other states that are moving forward, we need to keep the focus on small business, micro licensing, social justice, and especially help cultivation,” he said. “Consumers need to have the rights at home as a check on the industry to make sure that they keep delivering quality product and that tax rates and prices are fair.”
And at the end of the day, this investment could be very good for cannabis, but Altieri says it’s going to be up to consumers to hold these companies accountable.