Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has rarely wavered from founder Sam Walton's gospel of Christian free enterprise or his conservatism.
So it should come as no surprise that, over the years, the world's largest retailer has taken stands against medical marijuana laws, sometimes refusing to cover employees' legal cannabis prescriptions.
So the most recent news coming out of Bentonville, Ark., was a bit shocking.
Earlier this week, Walmart's Canadian division said it's exploring the possibility of selling cannabis-infused products in its stores.
While various global beverage and tobacco giants have been showing interest in the legal cannabis market, Walmart is the first big retailer do so – and probably the most surprising choice possible.
What's next? Cannabis grow kits at Hobby Lobby? Marijuana-infused nuggets at Chick-fil-A?
Even more jaw-dropping is that this, technically, isn't Walmart's first foray into pot.
Earlier this year, it greenlit the sale of American Cannabis Co. Inc. (OTC: AMMJ) soil mix via its online store. While this is a far cry from stocking Walmart shelves with buds and edibles, it was a big step into the cannabis market for the traditionally conservative retailer.
Now, Walmart doesn't want to anger conservative customers. That's why you won't be able to buy your bud from the retailer – in Canada or here at home – maybe ever.
Instead, Walmart Canada is looking into cannabidiol, or CBD.
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CBD is a non-psychoactive but beneficial agent in marijuana. One CBD drug – a childhood epilepsy treatment from GW Pharmaceuticals Plc. (Nasdaq: GWPH) – just got reclassified as a Schedule V drug in the United States, on par with cough syrup.
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.