A publicly traded U.S. tobacco company has bought controlling stakes in two Canadian marijuana producers and invested in a North Carolina hemp grower, making what is believed to be the first foray by a significant tobacco business into the cannabis industry.
Alliance One International, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol AOI, said it acquired a 75% equity position in Canada’s Island Garden and an 80% stake in Goldleaf Pharm. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed.
The moves were first reported by New Cannabis Ventures.
Alliance One is an independent leaf tobacco merchant based in Morrisville, North Carolina, that serves large multinational cigarette manufacturers.
Alliance One works with contract growers in North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe. The company’s sales for the first nine months of its fiscal year totaled $1.2 billion
Alliance One’s purchase follows a similar move in October by global alcohol giant Constellation Brands, which bought 9.9% of Smiths Falls, Ontario-based Canopy Growth for 245 million Canadian dollars ($190 million).