The annual report of the Altria Group, Philip Morris’s $26 billion parent company, does not mention marijuana as a threat to its bottom-line—its main “challenges” are anti-smoking restrictions, from the same government that gave it a generation’s reprieve from weed—but the company has absolutely moved toward legal marijuana, directly and indirectly.
After telling VICE that the company had “no plans to sell marijuana-based products” in 2016, later that same year, Philip Morris International sunk $20 million into Syqe Medical, an Israeli-based firm that makes 3D-printed cannabis inhalers. In the years prior, the company’s European subsidiary, Philip Morris Products S.A., applied for and received a patent for plants “producing terpenes of interest… including…. Cannabis sativa.”
Since then, the company has been busy marking as its intellectual territory a slew of vaping devices, patenting a potential future hoard of e-cigarettes and other solid and liquid vapes—many of which bear a striking resemblance to marijuana dispensaries’ most popular products. […]