Cannabis legalisation (especially in the context of wider use of alternative delivery platforms such as vapour) furnishes the industry a tobacco bridge from being primarily tobacco providers to providers of a range of pleasure substances - including but not limited to nicotine. In the future, current tobacco entities could find themselves supplying cannabis, stimulants, broad-based medication and even other currently illegal drugs.
Today, on the cusp of wider global legalisation, total global demand for cannabis (legal and illegal) is estimated at around USD150 billion with legal sales accounting for less than 10%. Euromonitor predicts that wider legalisation and the advent of fresh consumers and consumption missions will drive the legal market to around 80% of the total, at USD166 billion in 2025.
Cannabis legalisation (especially in the context of wider use of alternative delivery platforms such as vapour) furnishes the industry a bridge from being primarily tobacco providers to providers of a range of substances (related to pleasure and mental wellbeing) through reduced risk delivery mechanisms - including but not limited to nicotine and cannabis.
The potential for incremental cannibalisation arguably serves the tobacco industry with a need to play in legal cannabis but its scientific expertise, compliance and marketing focus along with its development of alternative format provides it with a right to win.
There are a range of emergent issues in the regulatory space including substance mixing, youth access (particularly in relation to mental health), e-commerce, sustainability, cannabinoid nuance and questions around cannabis’ role in the public’s daily lives.
The key future trends in the legal industry - democratisation and permeation, technological innovation, industrialisation and biosynthesis, the customised addressing of consumer needs - are largely ones to which the tobacco industry can bring relevant expertise to bear.
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