Walmart Might Sell Cannabis Products in Canada
Following the announcement that the Canadian government will soon legalize Cannabis products in Canada, Walmart Inc.’s Canadian arm is considering the idea of selling cannabis-based products. However, unlike many others, they do not wish to get into the business any time soon as related by their spokeswoman Diane Medeiros via an email as regards the non-psychoactive compound, cannabidiol present in Cannabis plants.
“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.”
The sudden interest in CBD is prompted by the Canadian government’s move to legalize recreational marijuana next week. Many companies producing alcohol (large brands) and/or consumer products are investigating the success (or failure) of CBD in the market. These companies include:
• Coca-Cola Co. which has expressed their desire to possibly enter the CBD market too as of last month saying that they are “closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world.”
• Constellation Brands Inc., the maker of Corona beer and Robert Mondavi wine, has also shown interest in the CBD market as they hope they could start producing CBD-infused drinks. This, they plan to do via a partnership contract with Canopy Growth Corp.
• Molson Coors Canada Inc. having developed the idea of selling cannabis beverages created a joint venture with Hexo Corp. in anticipation of the cannabis being legalized.
However, while many drink based companies are interested in investing in cannabis, PepsiCo Inc. related last week that it had no plans to join this moving train and their shares suffered for it.
Interestingly, not only the drink companies will benefit from the move, other Canadian retail outlets will. Loblaw Cos. owned drugstore chain, Shoppers Drug Mart has already received approval as of last month from Health Canada to be a licensed medical marijuana producer thus enabling pharmacies to be able to subsequently dispense cannabis as a drug to patients.
As a drug, CBD will induce a broader range of therapeutic effects that will help patients with pain, inflammation, anxiety, and sleeplessness. These therapeutic effects will not produce an intoxicating effect, unlike THC and these effects have also been subjected to a lot of clinical trials conducted by the Canadian cannabis companies. These clinical trials include a Canopy study on sleep and Tilray Inc. research into the Dravet syndrome, a non-prevalent form of pediatric epilepsy. The legalization of cannabis looks like a good move for the medical field too. “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,” Cowen & Co. analyst Vivien Azer wrote in a research note Tuesday. “We expect to see CBD used as a functional ingredient in non-alcoholic beverages.”
What do you think about Walmart getting in the cannabis industry?