As Canada prepares to legalize recreational pot on October 17, Walmart has announced that it is considering selling cannabis-based products in its Canadian locations. According to Bloomberg, the retailer isn't alone. Coca-Cola and Corona manufacturer Constallation Brands Inc. are also looking to cash in on the cannabis craze.
Marijuana has become big business, and interest in cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is booming. In Canada, Molson Coors Canada Inc. formed a partnership with Hexo Corp. to make cannabis drinks. Constellation Brands has shown interest in doing the same through its Corona and Robert Mondavi wine brands. The company invested $4 billion in Canadian pot producer Canopy Growth and has said that they are confident the market will continue to grow.
"We continue to be extremely bullish, if not more bullish, since we've announced the deal," Constellation Brands CEO Rob Sands said.
Coca-Cola said that it was eyeing the cannabis drinks market last month, and stocks jumped after the announcement. The drinks maker has been talking with Aurora Cannabis to develop drinks that contain CBD.
"We are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world," Kent Landers, a spokesman for Coca-Cola said.Despite the growth in the market, Walmart isn't ready to jump into the marijuana business just yet.
"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," spokeswoman Diane Medeiros said.
The company also said that it has no plans to explore dispensing medical marijuana in its pharmacies right now.
The move is considered by some to be a shrewd way for the company to dip its toe in the marijuana market without upsetting its customer. While investing in the cannabis market seems like a good fit for drink manufacturers, Walmart is generally a more conservative brand, according to Forbes. Earlier this year, the retailer made a symbolic gesture toward the marijuana industry when it began selling American Cannabis Company's soil mix online in the U.S. The company's Canadian arm, however, can be less cautious with the nationwide legalization of recreational pot use in Canada.
CBD has seen increased interest to retailers because, unlike THC, it doesn't cause the user to feel high. At the same time, users still feel the benefit of the drug, which can possibly help with pain, nausea, anxiety, and sleeplessness.