There are a few potential developments that stand to change the course of legal marijuana forever. The first is nationwide legalization in the United States. The next is retail giants like Walmart start getting involved. Rest assured once the largest retailer in the world opens up a cannabis aisle, providing budget-conscious consumers with the ability to make weed purchases along with their grocery and clothing needs, the market will open up to a wild and wily scene where weed is not only normalized but genuinely respected as an equal to its kin in inebriation — alcohol.
The Canadian cannabis market could first to witness this insanity.
A recent report from Reuters suggests that Walmart’s Canadian operation is exploring the possibility of stocking its shelves with products derived from cannabidiol (CBD). The company did not reveal any plans to go deeper inside the world of cannabis, nor did it confirm its intention to start slinging CBD. But, like with some corporations focused on expanding profits, Walmart is investigating just how lucrative this product sector could be for its 400 Canadian locations.
“As we would for any new industry, Walmart Canada has done some preliminary fact-finding on this issue, but we do not have plans to carry CBD products at this time,” Walmart spokeswoman Diane Medeiros told the news source.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, cannabidiol (known as CBD) is the non-intoxicating part of the cannabis plant. It has risen to fame over the past few years for its ability to help control seizures in epilepsy patients. At least that’s where the remedy craze began. Now, people consume CBD (mostly the hemp-derived products) for conditions ranging from anxiety to pain. The compound has built a, primarily inflated, reputation of being the holy grail of cannabis cures. The American CBD market alone is expected to be worth in upwards of $2 billion within the next three years.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the impending Canadian cannabis market, which is set to get underway in a matter of weeks, is it shows that just about every industry known to man is considering a move to cannabis. It all started with an investment by beverage giant Constellation Brand to bring to life the Corona of cannabis, and throughout the past year Molson Coors has jumped in, with speculative deals involving Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Anheuser-Busch circulating the rumor mill.
But it’s not just cannabis-infused beverages that stand to alter cannabis commerce. Other industries, including food and beauty care, are also set up to hit it big when recreational sales come around.
Of course, all a company has to do these days is mention to a major news outlet that they are “considering” or “exploring” a cannabis deal and their stocks start to climb. The Walmart gossip was no exception. Yet there is a reason investors might be moving in on this deal with a little more finesse.
Walmart has already shown a willingness to cater to cannabis clientele. Earlier this year, the retailer signed a distribution deal with a Denver-based cannabis company to sell SoHum Living Soils and Dr. Marijane Root Probiotic through its website. The retail giant also has similar agreements in place with companies that sell hemp oil and other hemp-based products. So, for Walmart to take its entry into the cannabis space a step further, especially in a full legal climate such as Canada, would not be a stretch. Not at all. After all, Walmart sells beer and wine in 47 states.
There is another way Walmart could get into the cannabis industry, even in the United States, where it is illegal under federal law. Not so long ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave GW Pharmaceuticals permission to sell its CBD-based drug Epidiolex in the U.S. drug market. This is the first time a medication derived from the cannabis plant has been given this respect. But because it is legal with a prescription, it is well within the law for major pharmacy chains to be part of the distribution chain. Although Walmart has not yet said whether it will carry Epidiolex, others, including Rite Aid, have. Since the drug has FDA approval, there is no reason Walmart would shy away. The store’s pharmacies have been slinging Adderall (meth) and Oxycontin (heroin) for years.
We will have to just wait and see what the company’s next move will be.
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