Now that cannabis is increasingly legal across North America, even Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) could be selling it soon.
If you're surprised, it's no wonder. After all, Walmart started in Arkansas and retains conservative roots.
But in addition to having stores throughout the United States, Walmart also has 400 stores throughout Canada. And Canada, of course, recently made marijuana completely legal.
So Walmart, like the savvy retailer it is, has every incentive to carry products that are perfectly legal in Canada.
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But is it something they will actually do? And what kind of pot products could Walmart be selling in Canada?
Is Walmart Going to Be Selling Pot?
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If Walmart starts selling pot products, it would be breaking with precedent. It's always had a very clear stance. It's never even agreed to cover medicinal marijuana sold by prescription for its own employees.
But now the potential profit throughout Canada just can't be ignored, especially for a company as profit-conscious as WMT.
Prior to full legalization in Canada, the country's pot industry was valued at $31 billion. That's a whopping figure for the pre-legal days. But now that cannabis is legal in Canada, the profit potential is almost limitless.
Walmart doesn't plan to sell cannabis directly to its customers. But the Canadian division is exploring how it might market cannabidiol, or CBD, to Canadians. CBD is a marijuana derivative. We emphasize that this is in exploration, so Walmart-branded CBD is not a sure thing. But just the possibility, in a mainstream retailer, is encouraging.
CBD is a marijuana plant extract that is not psychoactive. In other words, it doesn't get people high. But it has use for treating several medical and health-related conditions, from arthritis to epilepsy to anxiety. It's also increasingly prescribed as a supplement.
In fact, one company specializing in medical marijuana-based treatments, GW Pharmaceuticals Plc. (NASDAQ: GWPH) recently received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) approval for an epilepsy medication based on CBD.
Other large U.S. corporations and their brands are also interested in medical marijuana and other marijuana products. And they're interested for the same reason as Walmart. The first companies to sell marijuana products in a newly legalized environment are likely to make a killing.
Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO), for example, has demonstrated an interest in moving into the marijuana business with a CBD-based product. KO is discussing the creation of a marijuana-based health drink with Aurora Cannabis Inc. (OTCMKTS: ACBFF). The end result when news of the discussion hit the markets in mid-September has been a whopping 60% boost to ACBFF stock.
Needless to say, with multiple U.S. states legalizing marijuana either fully or for medicinal purposes, more and more major companies will follow. Alcohol and spirit-based drinks will likely be next. Edibles, lotions, and more will be part of marijuana stocks' green wave. Even products that help crops grow will be part of the profit to be made from marijuana legalization.
We'll be keeping you up to date as more and more companies catch the green wave. Stay tuned.
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