Big Pharma Has Partnered with a Cannabis Company for the First Time

Many people have wondered when a cannabis company would enter into a major partnership with a big pharmaceutical company. That day has finally arrived.

Canadian cannabis producer Tilray announced a global supply and distribution partnership with Novartis AG, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. The agreement will allow Tilray to distribute their cannabis supply to around 35 countries that allow medical marijuana in some form.

Tilray says it's the first major partnership between a cannabis business and a major pharmaceutical company. Other cannabis companies have made smaller deals, including Tilray working with a Novartis subsidiary called Sandoz, but this is the first time a Big Pharma (emphasis on the Big) company has partnered with a marijuana business.

“Around the world, people are substituting medical cannabis for traditional pharmaceutical products,” said Tilray Chief Executive Brendan Kennedy. “Medical cannabis is disrupting Big Pharma, and Sandoz and Novartis are smart for being ahead.”

It's not surprising that Big Pharma would get involved in cannabis. Many reports say the pharmaceutical industry could lose billions of dollars over the next decade from people rejecting their products and instead choosing to use cannabis. So partnering up with marijuana companies is a way they can mitigate some of those losses.

While some people fear Big Pharma's entrance into the cannabis field could lead to them taking it over and pushing out smaller companies, others say that Big Pharma's involvement could lead to marijuana reform coming sooner considering the industry's influence over financial and political world.

(h/t MarketWatch)


Few other entrepreneurs in the cannabis space have their hands in quite as many ventures as Lorne Gertner. Currently dubbed the "godfather of the Canadian cannabis industry," Gertner told Civilized, "If we could live through normalization, we could change the world." Hailing from the fashion industry, this Toronto native says he's on a mission to "make the world a better place through cannabis and design excellence." The only catch is, well, normalizing cannabis — and that's where Gertner's keen eye for style comes in. "In the old days, you were going to be different or you were going to be normal," said Thom Antonio, Gertner's friend, creative director, and collaborator of 35 years.

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