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Altria's interest in Canadian pot company Cronos lifts its shares

Pot sales boom in Mass., but residents upset

TORONTO - The potential entry of one of the world's largest tobacco companies into the marijuana business is sending the shares of a Canadian cannabis company higher before Tuesday's opening bell.

Cronos Group confirmed talks late Monday with Marlboro maker Altria about a possible investment. Altria Group, based in Richmond, Virginia, owns Philip Morris USA, the largest cigarette maker in the U.S.

Canada legalized recreational marijuana use this year, and in the U.S., the trend is moving in that direction on the state level.

Tilray, a medical marijuana company in British Columbia, became the first cannabis business to begin trading publicly this year on a major U.S. stock exchange.

Shares of Cronos Group, based in Toronto and listed on Nasdaq, rose 8 percent in premarket trading Tuesday.

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