Earlier in the year, British American Tobacco (BAT), announced that they secured a nearly 20 percent interest in Canadian cannabis producer Organigram.
Last week, BAT announced another investment in the cannabis space – again in Canada – by leading the Series A funding round for Trait Biosciences – a cannabinoid biotechnology research company based in Vancouver, reports Business Cann.
BAT not alone
BAT’s latest investment into cannabis research and development is part of a larger trend of tobacco companies diversifying their companies away from tobacco. Recall Imperial’s $123 million investment into Auxly Cannabis Group and Altria’s massive stake in Cronos Group.
Not just in Canada
These tobacco-company investments into Canadian cannabis companies are not the only shift away from smokable tobacco products. BAT plans to launch their CBD vape device – Vuse CBD Zone – across the UK later this year. This is part of BAT’s stated effort to ‘reducing the health impact of its business through a greater choice of enjoyable and less risky products’.
With the US market still the big fish on the horizon, the cannabis industry can expect more and more tobacco companies looking to diversify their corporate portfolios. While this trend has seen some major investments already (Organigram/Cronos) – more are certainly coming.