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Will tobacco companies enter the medical marijuana market?

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

AP: Now that Washington and Colorado have legalized possession of marijuana, there is a possibility that cigarette makers could supply the market.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. President Barack Obama indicated last week that going after individual users won't be a priority, but there's no firm indication yet what action the Justice Department might take against states or businesses that participate in the nascent pot market, which has the potential to be large. For example analysts have estimated that a legal pot market could bring Washington state hundreds of millions of dollars a year in new tax revenue for schools, health care and basic government functions.

"We have a practice of not commenting or speculating on future business," [Philip Morris spokesman Bill] Phelps said, adding "tobacco companies are in the business of manufacturing and marketing tobacco products."

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