Walmart Canada Considers Selling Marijuana Products

By Paul Gaita 10/19/18

The mega chain is reportedly investigating the viability of carrying CBD products in their stores. 

Walmart Supercentre in Canada

As a growing list of major companies either embrace or consider the option to include cannabidiol (CBD)-based products in their retail offerings, a representative from Walmart Inc. in Canada told the Vancouver Sun that the mega-chain has conducted research into the viability of carrying CBD products on store shelves.

Diane Medeiros, a spokesperson for Walmart Canada, said that while the company does not have plans to carry CBD products at this time, it "has done some preliminary fact-finding on this issue."

The timing of their investigation coincides with the legalization of marijuana at the federal level throughout Canada on October 17, 2018.

In an email exchange with the Sun, Medeiros said that the review of CBD-based products—goods that contain the active but non-psychoactive compound cannabidiol—is standard operating procedure, something they carry out for "any new industry."

As High Times noted, the investigation is also good business practice, as Canadians are expected to drop $1 billion on marijuana in the first three months after legalization. Response to the company's announcement also proved positive for Walmart, whose shares rose nearly 3% in afternoon trading that day.

And while Walmart is apparently not ready to offer CBD-based product to its customers, other brands, both global and regional, have already announced their intent to cater to the new market.

In Canada, the drugstore chain Shoppers Drug Mart was approved as a licensed medical marijuana producer, which will allow them to dispense cannabis to their customers, while the Montreal-based Molson Coors Canada has entered into a joint venture with The Hydropothecary Corporation to produce non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages. 

The Coca-Cola Company, too, has reported making inroads towards CBD-based products with a beverage produced in conjunction with Aurora Cannabis, while Estee Lauder has added Hello, Calm—a face mask infused with sativa—to its line of cosmetic products.

Several U.S. breweries like Lagunitas and Coalition Brewing have already begun selling CBD-infused beer products, and the vegan chain By Chloe offers CBD-based products in its nationwide locations.

And, as the Vancouver Sun noted, companies that have refused to expand its offerings to CBD product may experience a setback: PepsiCo's declaration to not sell CBD-infused goods resulted in a decline in its market share.

Cowen & Co. analyst Vivien Azer underscored the retail industry's growing focus on CBD-based products in a research note that stated, "Health and wellness consumers are beginning to find value and use cases from CBD-based oil extracts, tinctures, topicals and capsules to improve everyday life. We expect to see CBD used as a functional ingredient in non-alcoholic beverages."

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.