Add Kroger to the growing list of big national chains that are selling products containing CBD, the hemp plant derivative that is related to marijuana but without the high.
The huge supermarket retailer announced Tuesday that it will begin selling personal care products, largely lotions and potions, containing cannabinoid. While no legal claims can be made about its uses and effectiveness, advocates say it can help to relieve stress, induce sleep and generally chill you out (without the mind-altering properties of marijuana).
Kroger will start selling the products in 945 of its more than 2,700 stores, which operate under a variety of nameplates that include Ralph’s, Fred Meyer, Smith’s and Harris Teeter, besides its namesake brand. The program will be introduced into stores in 17 states by the end of June, the company said.
Kroger is only the latest big national retailer to begin selling CBD products, following drug chains like CVS, Walgreen and Rite Aid; specialty stores like Barney’s, Vitamin Shoppe and GNC; and even general merchandise stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Macy’s.
The move also follows announcements by the two big shopping mall operators—Simon Property Group and Brookfield Properties—that they have engaged Green Growth Brands to open CBD stores in their malls this year. Simon’s agreement, announced in February, calls for 108 stores while the Brookfield deal, signed just this week, is for 70 locations by the end of the year.
The rush into CBD follows the passage last year of the so-called farm bill by Congress that legalized hemp, the source for CBD. Nevertheless, some local governments have continued to ban the substance, and its use in food and beverages remains in question. Kroger’s product roll-out is restricted to topical applications and does not include anything that can be ingested. It did not specify the brands it would be selling.
Whether CBD becomes an evergreen product, or is just a passing fad, remains to be seen. There is little, if any, scientific proof that it does any of the things its supporters claim, but in the meantime, it remains a hot product for retailers in search of the latest and greatest.
To say they are high on its prospects would be way too obvious, and no doubt illegal.
Date: June 13, 2019