Makers of Marlboro, Corona Get in On the Cannabis Game

The cannabis industry is attracting all sorts of big name brands these days. We’ve covered forays by Lagunitas, Coppola Wines, and Coca Cola before. Now you can add Corona and Marlboro to the list.

The tobacco giant Altria, which makes Marlboro cigarettes, is buying a 45% stake in Canada-based marijuana firm Cronos Group with an option to purchase another 10% at later date. The price: a cool $1.8 billion.

Cronos stock shot up by 29% after the announcement. Altria, which has been suffering from rapidly declining tobacco sales in recent years, saw its share price jump 2%

The owners of Corona beer, meanwhile, have announced a $4 billion investment in another Canadian cannabis company called Canopy Growth.

“There’s always been the expectation that big business was going to come in; we’ve been hearing rumors about ‘Marlboro Greens’ for decades now,” Bethany Gomez, director of research at cannabis market research group Brightfield Group, told the New York Times. “Now we’re past the point of no return.”

How far we’ve come since the days of reefer madness and back-alley weed deals. Marijuana hasn’t just gone mainstream; it’s the stuff of giants. Will there be any room left for the little guys?