When I was an old teen/youngish adult in the late 1990’s a rumor that Marlboro had acquired a license to sell cannabis (once weed became legal on a Federal level) began to circulate among my circle of impressionable friends. This was when weed was in a “renaissance era” of sorts, idolized in popular media as the anniversary of the death rattle of the hippie rolled by (Woodstock) and marijuana became more widely accepted in popular culture, as evident in such movies as Half Baked and Bongwater and a slew of other stoner flicks that came out that decade.
While you may find everything from cannabis-infused Cheetos and topical cannabis balms to cannabis flavored toothpicks, a quick search online will quickly show you that despite this rumor existing for decades, there is absolutely no evidence that Phillip Morris or any other tobacco company plans on selling marijuana now or anytime in the near future.
And it’s painfully obvious why. Marijuana will never be legalized on a Federal level. I know this may come as a shock to some, but the government has absolutely no financial incentive to legalize a plant that makes people question their reality. Also, cannabis is not impacting the tobacco industry’s bottom line, in that, a smoker will continue smoking because they are addicted, therefore focusing all marketing efforts on preserving that addiction would make the most sense.
The most recent iteration of this BS rumor says ‘M’ brand cigarettes are being sold in pot-friendly Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska. The rumor usually comes packaged as a magazine or blog article to make it appear more legit. Additionally, the patently false story is typically accompanied by a poorly photo-shopped picture of a Marlboro cigarette pack that reads Marlboro Cannabis with the label altered to make it appear it contains cannabis cigarettes inside.
Philip Morris spokeswoman Iro Antoniadou said in an email these articles published in urhealthguide and many other publications are an outright deception.
The illegality of cannabis continues to remain in the spotlight as our former Attorney General Jeff Sessions signaled a tougher approach on its criminalization. However, with strides in legality being made on a state level, it will be interesting to see the effect, if any, this administration has on the continuing spread of cannabis acceptance.