Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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displays marijuana grown on one of his properties in Mendocino County, California on April 19, 2017. Marijuana growers, forced to run their businesses with cash, must navigate legal and political gray areas as regulations and laws continue to change.

Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

Marlboro cigarette maker Altria is in early stage talks to acquire Canadian cannabis producer Cronos, as it seeks to diversify its business beyond traditional smokers, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC.

It could not be immediately determined whether Altria’s potential acquisition of Cronos would affect its potential stake in Juul.

The deal talks come as the tobacco industry is under pressure. Cigarette sales have declined as older smokers are dying and fewer young people are starting to smoke. Last year, cigarette smoking in the U.S. fell to its lowest point in recorded history last year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The source asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Altria did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while Cronos declined to comment.

Reuters first reported the talks between Altria and Cronos.


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