Big Tobacco Invests in Canadian Marijuana, Leaving B.C.’s Craft-Cannabis Producers Uneasy

Article by Travis Lupick, The Georgia Straight

Big Tobacco invests in Canadian marijuana, leaving B.C.'s craft-cannabis producers uneasy A midsize U.S. company has bought majority stakes in two Canadian businesses to prepare for the medicinal-marijuana trade, marking the entry of the tobacco industry into legal pot here by Travis Lupick. Big tobacco companies might very well get involved in recreational marijuana, but craft-cannabis producers aren’t too worried.

Earlier this month, an unremarkable sentence appeared in a quarterly report published by Alliance One International, a tobacco company headquartered in North Carolina.

“In January, we successfully acquired majority stakes in two new joint ventures,” it reads.

Further into the document, it is announced that an Alliance One subsidiary called Canadian Cultivated Products had secured a 75-percent equity position in Canada’s Island Garden Inc. and an 80-percent stake in Goldleaf Pharm Inc.

The former is located in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and the latter just south of Hamilton, Ontario.

Island Garden and Goldleaf Pharm are medicinal-cannabis companies.

“The combined Canadian cannabis acquisitions are anticipated, subject to regulatory approvals, to have approximately 1 million square feet of production space within a three year period and with the opportunity to become a truly international cannabis company, expanding into international markets as anticipated legalization of medicinal and recreational cannabis use progresses around the world,” reads Alliance One’s quarterly report.

Alliance One’s revenue for the three months covered in the report was $477.8 million. The tobacco industry has officially taken an interest in Canada’s legal-cannabis market.

Shane MacGuill is head of tobacco research at Euromonitor International, a data-and-analysis firm with staff in more than 100 countries. He told the Straight that the move could signal the beginning of a trend but not one that will happen overnight.

“From the Alliance One point of view, they’re seeing declining demand for the tobacco leaf and another adjacent industry…where the opposite trajectory is happening,” MacGuill said on the phone from London, England. “But it is much less straightforward a question for the brand owners.”

Read the full article here.

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