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Marlboro maker eyes Canada pot grower: report

CBS News logo CBS News 5 days ago Kate Gibson

© Thomson Reuters   It looks like the Marlboro Man may soon be into weed: Tobacco company Altria Group is reportedly considering buying a stake in Canadian cannabis producer Aphria.

Canada's Globe and Mail cited multiple unidentified sources in reporting Altria, maker of Marlboro cigarettes, had expressed an interest in acquiring a minority piece of the the pot producer. Details of the investment are still being worked out, but the idea would be to eventually hold a majority footing in the Canadian firm, according to the newspaper.

The talks aren't yet final and could fall through, the report stressed. Altria had no comment on "rumors and speculation," a spokesperson said in an email, while Ontario-based Aphria didn't immediately return a request for comment.

Altria would be just the latest in a slew of American consumer companies looking to ink deals with Canadian cannabis firms as sales of recreational marijuana are set to be legal in Canada, starting in a week.

Coca-Cola last month said it might target consumers seeking to ease inflammation and related pain by using a legal chemical found in pot called CBD that's unrelated to the psycoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

The American beverage company's signaling its interest came about a month after Coors said its Canadian division would partner with Canadian cannabis producer Hydropothecary to develop a nonalcoholic drink containing marijuana. 

Separately, Constellation Brands, the maker of Corona Beer, said it would spend $3.8 billion to hike an investment in Canadian marijuana producer Canopy Growth.

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