NEW YORK — One of the world’s biggest tobacco companies is diving into the cannabis market with a $2.4 billion investment in Cronos Group, a Canadian medical and recreational marijuana company.
Altria, which makes Marlboro cigarettes, is taking a 45 percent stake in the Toronto company.
Cronos said Friday that the Richmond, Virginia, tobacco company will pay another $1.4 billion for warrants that, if exercised, would give the Altria a 55 percent majority ownership stake.
Cronos first announced that it was in talks with Altria this week.
Altria Group Inc., which owns Philip Morris USA, joins beverage makers like Molson Coors, Constellation Brands and Heineken that have announced moves in the cannabis space. Other big companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch and Guinness brewer Diageo haven’t acted yet but have said they’re watching closely as the market for marijuana and its extracts evolves.
The cannabis market is expected to rapidly grow as legalization