CBD at Retail

In many ways, manufacturers and consumer demand remain well ahead of government regulators when it comes to CBD and CBD-infused products, creating some confusion in the marketplace and forcing retailers to decide if they should sell CBD products and if so, which ones.

Current regulations allow for the sale of non-ingestible CBD products while the entire industry awaits final rules from the Food and Drug Administration. But many retail stores across country, from the smallest mom-and-pop to the biggest national chains, have decided to carry CBD products.

Marijuana Venture checked in with several well-known drug stores, supermarkets and retailers to ask about their CBD policies.

In an email to Marijuana Venture, a Whole Foods spokesperson said the Jeff Bezos-owned company sells CBD products, such as body lotions and creams, at its stores across 38 states.

“All products meet Whole Foods Market’s rigorous quality standards and comply with regulatory requirements,” the spokesperson said. “We’re excited to meet customer demand for these products and will consider further expansion of the program based on the customer response and the evolving landscape.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Amazon.com said in an email that listings for products containing CBD are prohibited, including, but not limited to, “full spectrum hemp oil,” “rich hemp oil” and “products that have been identified as containing CBD by LegitScript.” The email echoes Amazon’s published policy, although a search on the site brings up a handful of somewhat ambiguous hemp products such as cigarettes and oils.

A spokesperson at CVS Pharmacy said in an email the company does not sell any supplements or food additives that contain CBD.

“The hemp-derived CBD products we sell at select stores across 20 states are for topical use only, such as creams, sprays, roll-ons, lotions and salves,” the spokesperson wrote. “We are working with CBD product manufacturers that are complying with applicable laws and that meet our high standards for quality. We have also partnered with Eurofins, a third party laboratory, to test all CBD topicals for THC (not to exceed a 0.3% threshold), CBD content and certain contaminants. Only products passing these independent tests are offered for sale in our stores.”

According to a March 2019 press release, Walgreens announced, “After a thorough review and analysis, we will be offering certain products containing Cannabidiol (CBD) in nearly 1,500 Walgreens stores in select states (OR, CO, NM, KY, TN, VT, SC, IL and IN). The CBD-related items we are planning to carry are non-THC containing topical creams, patches and sprays. This product offering is in line with our efforts to provide a wider range of accessible health and wellbeing products and services to best meet the needs and preferences of our customers.”

Similarly, a Rite Aid spokesperson told Marijuana Venture that CBD products (creams, lotions and lip balms only) are available in 200 stores in Washington and Oregon with no current plans to expand beyond that.

Calls and emails to the corporate offices of the Albertson’s/Safeway, Target and Kroger chains (including QFC and Fred Meyer) were not returned.

Based on visits and phone calls to Albertson’s, Safeway and Kroger stores, some carry a variety of CBD products, including creams and topicals, as well as tinctures and pets. According to Kroger employees, the decision to sell CBD products and which products to sell is a store-by-store decision.

In 2017, Target began selling CBD products online, but quickly removed the items after a backlash. As of mid-2019, the retailer said it had no plans to sell CBD products. Calls to Target stores in the Seattle area showed that some topical products are available online.

— Brian Beckley

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