As it expands beyond nicotine, British American Tobacco Plc has made its next bet on marijuana by investing alongside rapper Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde Capital in German cannabis firm Sanity Group GmbH.
According to founder and CEO Finn Age Hänsel, Sanity, based in Berlin, secured $37.6 million in the BAT-led Series B fundraising round. The majority of the funds will be used to expand Sanity’s medical division, with the remaining portion going toward planning for the future legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Germany.
Separately, BAT claimed the purchase gave them a noncontrolling minority position in Sanity through one of its wholly-owned group companies.
The wager by the tobacco industry giant demonstrates the potential of the German market, which boasts the biggest economy in Europe and a population of more than 83 million. In the industrialized world, cigarette smoking is down while cannabis usage is increasing, driving businesses like BAT to look for new opportunities for development.
Cannabis use for recreational purposes has not yet been legalized in Germany, although this is likely to happen very soon.
However, Germany’s coalition government is “working vigorously on it and truly wants to arrive at a good draught of the law by the end of this year,” Hänsel said, despite the fact that some governments have reversed course or put off legalizing marijuana.
Hänsel claimed that the present environment has made it more difficult for cannabis entrepreneurs to raise capital, with cannabis stocks being pummeled by economic fears and deteriorating investor sentiment. Indeed, the recent stock falls in the cannabis industry have hindered Big Tobacco’s attempts to enter the market.
However, recent measures to create a legal framework, support for legalization from the health minister Karl Lauterbach, and confidence that a bill may be approved by next spring from the justice minister Marco Buschmann have all helped to boost sentiment in Germany.
While medical marijuana use continues to grow and sales of CBD products with a focus on wellness soar, public opinion is shifting after decades of rejection in Europe. They are happy to have completed a funding round of this size despite the tough global economy.
With this round, Sanity has now raised more than $100 million in total. Sanity Group was established in 2018 with a focus on the development and marketing of medications, medical devices, and consumer goods derived from cannabis. Along with Casa Verde, other investors in the firm include actors Alyssa Milano and William.
According to Hänsel, Sanity Group is receiving “great attention, not only from the tobacco industry but also from other sectors like fast-moving consumer enterprises.” He projected that as laws in the US and other markets continue to soften, marijuana will attract businesses of all stripes.
Last year, BAT invested in Trait Biosciences, a company that develops technologies to make CBD water-soluble, as well as Organigram, a Canadian cannabis grower. The company’s investment vehicle, Tomorrow Ventures, has also supported the vaping companies Canopies and Kanvas.
Their goal is to assist up-and-coming businesses in becoming tomorrow’s industry leaders. They make investments in bright individuals who have a passion for innovation.
“Sanity Group is already the most well-capitalized cannabis company in Germany and is on course to become one of the leading brands in Europe,” continues Karan Wadhera, the Managing Partner at Casa Verde Capital.
They are delighted with their continuous development and will continue to provide financial and administrative help as they grow.
About British American Tobacco
British American Tobacco plc (BAT) is a global business with headquarters in the UK that manufactures and sells tobacco, cigarettes, and other products containing nicotine. Based on net sales, it is the biggest tobacco firm in the world as of 2019.
Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike, Pall Mall, and Rothmans are just a few of the cigarette brands owned by BAT, which conducts business in almost 180 nations. In addition, Vype, Vuse, and Glo are among its brands.
British American Tobacco