Is Big Tobacco Pivoting to Big Cannabis?

British American Tobacco announced Monday that it has acquired a minority stake in Berlin-based marijuana startup Sanity Group GmbH.

Kingsley Wheaton, BAT’s chief growth officer, said the transaction was the company’s “continued effort to explore many areas beyond nicotine and position BAT for future portfolio growth across various categories and geographies.” characterizes it as an example of “positioning towards.”

“We continue to transform our business by better understanding our current and future consumers as part of our purpose for a better tomorrow,” Wheaton said in a press release.

This acquisition can also be seen as reflecting a new trend. Cannabis is the future and tobacco, especially tobacco, is increasingly a thing of the past.

A Gallup poll last month found that only 11% of Americans reported smoking, the lowest number ever. In contrast, 16% believe they currently smoke cannabis.

These consumer trends are likely to continue to change as marijuana is legalized in more markets in the United States and abroad.

In Germany, government officials are preparing plans to legalize recreational cannabis. This makes the country the largest legal marijuana market in the world.

The upcoming policy change will almost certainly make Monday’s deal even more attractive for British American Tobacco, one of the world’s largest tobacco companies.

according to bloombergSanity has “secured $37.6 million in a BAT-led Series B funding round,” with “nearly half of the amount going to bolster Sanity’s medical business, and the rest preparing for the potential legalization of recreational marijuana.” is spent on,” he said. Germany. “

Around bloomberg, British American Tobacco invested along with Verde Capital, an investment fund co-founded by Snoop Dogg.

sanity group was founded in 2018 and currently has over 100 employees, with thousands from various business angels and celebrities such as Navy Capital, Redalpine, HV Capital, Calyx, Cherry Ventures, Bitburger Ventures, SOJE Capital, and Will. It has raised $.i.am (The Black Eyed Peas), Scooter Braun, Hollywood actor Alyssa Milano, German footballer Mario Götze, and Verde Capital and now BAT.

Company To tell Its focus is “medicine (medical cannabis, finished medicine) and medical products on the one hand and cannabinoid-based consumer goods on the other.”

Finn Age Hänsel, Founder and CEO of Sanity Group, called the funding from British American Tobacco “an important milestone for us and a strong signal for the future of cannabis in Germany and Europe. It is,” he praised.

“We appreciate the belief shown by both new and existing investors. Our goal is to maximize the potential of the cannabis plant and explore and harness the wide range of cannabinoids. The capital will allow us to accelerate our medical and consumer business sectors while preparing ourselves for the legalization of cannabis in Germany,” the statement said. As quoted by tech funding news.

According to Max NahChief Investment Officer of Sanity Group.

hansel said bloomberg Sanity said there is “strong interest not only from tobacco, but also from other industries such as fast-moving consumer goods companies.”

He also said the German government is “actively working on it. [the new marijuana law] And we hope to complete the bill by the end of this year. ”

“This is really a government priority,” he said.

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