Hemp based CBD products are legal nationally, even thought the DEA has at times suggested that it may not be. The DEA scared Target enough that the retail store removed all of its CBD products. However, Lucky’s Market has embraced the controversial topic and is proudly selling it around the country. Why are the laws not clear on hemp based CBD products?
For a brief moment last month, it appeared Target was on track to change the course of cannabidiol sales in the United States. But it turns out plucky Lucky’s Market is the national retailer disrupting the status quo.
The Colorado-based natural foods chain backed by grocery giant Kroger Co. is now selling nearly a dozen brands of hemp-derived extracts rich in the cannabis compound known as CBD at its 25 stores across the nation.
“We’re not afraid to be disruptive and pave the path and be pioneers,” said Sindy Wise, Lucky’s director of apothecary.
The move is risky in the American retail market where the legality of such extracts has been called into question by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
In late September, Target.com quietly began selling a selection of CBD oils made by Denver’s CW Hemp. The decision for the multinational retailer to sell CBD was viewed as bold — perhaps even a challenge to the government entities and others questioning the legality of hemp-derived extracts.
But Target pulled the products and the companies clammed up after The Cannabist reported that CBD items were available to purchase on Target.com. Aside from Target releasing a brief statement confirming the products’ removal, neither the retailer nor CW Hemp returned multiple calls and emails seeking comment.
Taking a potentially “revolutionary” leap was a no-brainer for Lucky’s, Wise said. And after conferring closely with lawyers for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the retailer won’t be changing its mind.
Lucky’s founder Bo Sharon advocates for “positive disruption,” and that includes staying ahead of trends in the natural products industry and responding to consumer requests, she said.
“Customers are trying to find these solutions and trying to find these products,” she said, adding that Lucky’s role involves serving as a provider of quality sourced products in addition to educator.
And considering hemp-derived extracts, she added, the role extends to that of stigma-breaker.
“This is the next big thing in terms of natural medicine,” she said.
Lucky’s went big with the Sept. 27 launch, touting CBD oils and adaptogenic plants — natural substances that promote biological balance and help the body adapt to stress — in its October magazine, and dedicating two full shelving displays in the Apothecary section of its stores to a line of private-label hemp oils, salves and body butters, as well as the products of a handful of other manufacturers. The products are marketed alongside reishi and shiitake mushrooms, holy basil (tulsi), rhodiola, ginseng and licorice.
But the chain also was calculating — offering hemp-extract products made into topicals that are applied to the skin, as well as consumable powders and capsules.
Lucky’s has had hemp extracts in its sights for more than a year, and Wise bore witness to the products’ legal and regulatory rollercoaster ride.
Part I – Forbidden medicine: Caught between a doctor’s CBD advice and federal laws
Part II – How advocates are inspiring congressional action on CBD legalization
Part III – With DEA digging in its heels on “marijuana extracts,” legality of CBD oil on trial in federal courts
Part IV – CBD research is going to the dogs in quest to legitimize pet products
Part V – CBD on the international stage: WHO committee delving into science, control status of cannabis compound
Part VI – Race for CBD medication breakthrough: Is pharma firm’s boon the hemp industry’s doom?
The CBD extract industry, already booming, got a nice bump after voters in eight more states sought to legalize medical or recreational marijuana last November. Then came the chill: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration moved forward on new drug-code regulations for cannabis extracts, in the process reaffirming its position that CBD-rich extracts — even those derived from hemp — are Schedule I controlled substances.
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