The Kroger Company, the largest grocery retailer in the United States, will sell beauty and skin-care products infused with cannabidiol (CBD) throughout the country as it takes advantage of growing consumer interest in all things marijuana.
Kroger joins other major retail chains like Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., CVS Health Corporation and Vitamin Shoppe Inc. in marketing CBD topical products such as creams, balms and oils. These hemp-derived products will be sold at 945 Kroger stores across 17 states.
Kroger, however, won’t sell edible CBD products such as pastries and dietary supplements since under current law, CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) can’t be added to food or marketed as a dietary supplement.
In 2018, however, the federal scheduling of cannabis changed. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, or the Farm Bill, removed hemp from the Federal Controlled Substances Act’s definition of marijuana.
As a consequence, while marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, hemp is no longer a controlled substance under federal law. Hemp refers to cannabis or derivatives of cannabis with a very low THC content (below 0.3% by dry weight). THC is the compound that delivers the “high” associated with marijuana use.
Kroger will sell its CBD topical products in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
“Like many retailers, we are starting to offer our customers a highly-curated selection of topical products like lotions, balms, oils and creams that are infused with hemp-derived CBD,” said Kristal Howard, head of corporate communications and media relations at Kroger.
“CBD is a naturally occurring and non-intoxicating compound that has promising benefits and is permitted within federal and state regulations. Our limited selection of hemp-derived CBD topical products is from suppliers that have been reviewed for quality and safety.”
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabis compound (meaning it doesn’t give its users a “high”) that can help relieve such anxiety and pain.
Analysts said Kroger’s move into CBD is part of a broader corporate strategy aimed at better competing against Amazon, the king of online retailing; and Walmart, the king of real world retailing.
In accordance with its three-year investment plan dubbed Restock Kroger, the retailer is lavishing money into digital sales and delivery services to meet constantly shifting consumer shopping habits.
Kroger has also been making alliances as part of this plan. It’s boosted ties with pharmacy chain Walgreens as both retailers seek the strength derived from a partnership to grow and fend-off competition. In 2018, Walgreens offer 2,300 Kroger products on the shelves of 13 Walgreens stores