On Thursday, Rite Aid announced its plans to join its competitors Walgreens and CVS in the legal CBD market. In March, both CVS and Walgreens made headlines when they began introducing certain cannabidiol products in select states. Rite Aid isn’t taking as big of an initial step as those pharmacy chains. Instead, it will start selling CBD products in just two states: Oregon and Washington.
Rite Aid Brings CBD Products to 200 Stores in Oregon and Washington
Just weeks after its largest competitors entered the legal hemp-CBD market, pharmacy retailer Rite Aid is getting in on the action. Unlike Walgreens and CVS, which stocked stores in several states with CBD products, Rite Aid is only rolling out its cannabidiol offerings in two states, for now. But like its two competitors, Rite Aid is sticking strictly to topical CBD products. The company will only offer CBD creams, lotions, lip balms and other beauty and skincare products.
Even though the federal government legalized hemp-derived CBD, current FDA regulations prevent many major retailers from offering a broader range of cannabidiol products. The FDA restricts the addition of CBD to food and has prohibited retailers from selling it as a dietary supplement. As a result, companies are facing uneven regulatory terrain when it comes to CBD. So to ensure they don’t get a visit or a letter from law enforcement agencies, major pharmacy retailers aren’t offering any CBD oils, edibles or other ingestibles.
CBD Continues Its Meteoric Rise to the Mainstream
The enthusiasm surrounding CBD-infused health and beauty only continues to grow. And Washington and Oregon, where Rite Aid has started offering CBD across 200 stores, are two of the friendliest states when it comes to cannabidiol regulations. Walgreens and CVS have already started selling CBD in both states. With such a bourgeoning market, Rite Aid’s move is an obvious one.
CBD has become something of a rock-star in the alternative health and beauty market. Its rapidly growing popularity among consumers looking for wellness alternatives has attracted the attention of multiple major retail chains. Companies are carefully and eagerly eyeing the evolving regulatory space, looking for opportunities to expand CBD product lineups. “Rite Aid has heard from many customers about their interest in purchasing CBD products,” the company wrote in statement to the press.
At the same time, both Washington and Oregon have thriving adult-use cannabis markets. Consumers in both states not only have access to psychoactive products, they can also purchase cannabis-derived CBD in their local dispensaries and weed shops. There are major differences between hemp-derived and cannabis-derived CBD. And customers familiar with that difference are likely to prefer CBD from cannabis, or products containing a CBD-THC blend.
So while it’s unclear how well its topical CBD products will perform, it’s clear that Rite Aid wants to make sure it gets a least a slice of a market analysts predict will grow to $22 billion by 2022.