Marlboro Producer Announces Major Investment Into Vape Company Juul

It looks like the Marlboro Man might be taking up vaping.

Altria Group Inc, the tobacco giant behind Marlboro announced that they will be buying a 35 percent minority stake in San Francisco-based vaping company Juul, bringing its overall value to $38 billion.

This partnership is expected to vastly expand the three-year-old vaping company, which will be able to utilize Altria’s resources and lobbying power. Additionally, the deal promises to distribute $2 billion in bonuses to Juul’s 1,500 employees, according to Vox. This will mean an average bonus of $1.3 million per employee.

Earlier this month, the company invested $1.8 billion into Canadian cannabis producer, Cronos, marking the largest investment to date by a tobacco company into cannabis.

This could be interpreted as a gradual move away from cigarettes, which have continued to experience major drops in sales, largely due to the increased awareness of tobacco-related health problems over the past few decades.

Unfortunately for the company—it could be out of the frying pan and into the fire, as it looks like vaping might soon experience a similar reckoning over health concerns. Earlier this week, the US Surgeon General declared vaping an “epidemic” among American youth.

This speaks to the popularity of the product, but also a concern for long-term sustainability.

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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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