TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The legalization of marijuana in the state of Colorado, and Washington DC, United States, is predicted to change the face of the US’ cigarette industry. The policy, which allows the public to consume marijuana, will certainly boost the marijuana industry.
In Colorado, sales of marijuana-infused cigarette is predicted to reach US$1 million (Rp13 billion) despite the state’s strict policy on the matter. In addition to Colorado and Washington DC, two other states that have decided to legalize marijuana include Oregon and Alaska, while there are a total of 50 states that have allowed marijuana to be sold for medical purposes. The Economist asserted that marijuana is a lucrative market for cigarette producers.
In Colorado, marijuana invasion is the main driver for growth for small-medium cigarette producers. New cafes dedicated for marijuana smokers were established, taxi operator companies and wedding organizers now provide marijuana pickup services. Meanwhile for non-smokers, there is a special cooking and massage course using marijuana.
Despite all the hype, major business players have shown little interest in tapping into the marijuana market.
According to the Economist, one of the main factors that raise concern among business players includes stringent policies. The Colorado government obliges marijuana vendors to plant at least 70 percent of their own products. The main point of the policy was to allow the government to easily track the sources of marijuana.
In addition, marijuana vendors are not allowed to use funds from banks because banks are not allowed to fund any kind of businesses related to marijuana, as stated in a federal law. “One-third of the marijuana industry does not know bank,” said Mike Elliot, spokesman of the Marijuana Industry Group of Colorado.
All of the abovementioned obstacles have caused cigarette producers to remain reluctant to get involved in the marijuana industry. Rumors have spread that the world’s largest cigarette producer Phillip Morris has produced and sell marijuana-infused Marlboro cigarettes. The product was said to be available in special licensed outlets under the “Marlboro M” brand name in Colorado and Washington DC. However, the company is yet to confirm the rumors.
FAIZ NASHRILLAH | NY TIMES | ECONOMIST
This article is a correction of a previous article titled “Marlboro Now Sells Marijuana Cigarettes” and was made to clarify that Phillip Morris has not provide official confirmation.