After stepping away from cannabis, Marlboro maker Philip Morris International Inc. is starting to take a closer look at the trendy market.
The company is evaluating factors such as cannabis toxicity, its efficacy, and differences between pharmaceutical and consumer choices, CEO Andre Calantzopoulos told Bloomberg News on Tuesday.
“We are doing all this work, and one day we will determine which paths to follow,” he said in an interview. “But our priority is what we’re doing with our smoke-free products, and that’s where I would stay with cannabis.”
Other cigarette companies have already joined the cannabis industry.
Altria Group Inc., which sells Marlboros in the US, announced a 2018 investment in Canadian cannabis. Earlier this year, British American Tobacco Plc acquired a stake in Organigram Holdings Inc.
Five years ago, Philip Morris invested in an Israeli medical cannabis company called Syqe Medical. However, the agreement wasn’t related directly to cannabis. The idea was to secure exclusive global rights to the technology for high-precision dosing for smoke-free tobacco products, said Philip Morris spokesman Corey Henry.
Suppose Philip Morris decides to take part in the industry. In that case, the company will follow their “Beyond Nicotine” strategy, which develops reduced-risk products by adding botanicals such as cloves, star anise, or chamomile. The company wishes to enter the wellness market by offering products that help with sleeping disorders and anxiety.