Is Walmart Doing Business With The Cannabis Industry?
Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
Although the federal government still considers marijuana an outlaw substance, more than half the states that make up this great nation have ripped the plant out of the trenches of prohibition for both medicinal and recreational purposes. This commitment to statewide drug reform has laid the groundwork for a golden industry of ganja — one that is expected to be worth in upwards of $24 billion within the next seven years.
Without a doubt, cannabis is on its way to becoming one of the leading cash crops in America. And there is green-eyed enthusiasm all around. So much that traditional industries ranging from Big Pharma to international breweries have all shown an interest in capitalizing on the monstrosity of legal marijuana. But the appeal of pot has not stopped there. It also seems that retail giant Walmart may be inching its way toward putting pot (or at least potting soil for pot) on its shelves in the not so-distant future.
It was announced earlier this week that Denver-based American Cannabis Company, which produces ancillary products designed specifically for the cannabis industry, has struck a distribution deal with a handful of national retailers, including Walmart, Home Depot and Amazon.
The distribution agreement will bring SoHum Living Soils and Dr. Marijane Root Probiotic to the mainstream marketplace. It is a move that is considered a hat tip from the boardrooms of big business, and the message is clear: No longer are multi-billion dollar corporations afraid to associate with companies connected to legal weed.
“ACC is excited to have the opportunity to offer our products online through these major retailers,” said CEO Terry Buffalo. “We are especially excited to be selling our proprietary SoHum Living Soils potting mix through these online channels, as we have spent years perfecting our blend, and fine-tuning the messaging around the brand itself.”
“We are also proud to be offering Dr. Marijane Root Probiotic on these online platforms,” he added. “This root probiotic is packed with all the beneficial microbes you need to awaken the nutrients in your soil or soil-less (hydroponic) medium.”
Some folks might scoff at the fact that ACC’s cannabis nutrients will only be available through online channels. But these days, the Internet is where commerce is happening. In fact, consumers are now buying more products from the Internet than ever before.
In 2017, the American consumer dropped nearly $454 billion with online retailers like Walmart and Amazon. That’s $63 million more than they spent in 2016. The latest numbers represent the highest increase in online sales since 2010, according to a report from the U.S Commerce Department.
It is worth mentioning that Amazon and Walmart are not just interested in getting a slice of the action from cannabis potting soil. These organizations have also struck deals with several other companies that manufacture health supplements made with hemp seed.
Both retailers sell a variety of hemp oils and other hemp-based products that are marketed as remedies for chronic pain, insomnia and mood disorders. Although these products are not made from the cannabis plant, they are derived from its less interesting cousin.
But before Walmart and other national retailers could ever begin to consider slinging marijuana products in the same way they do with respect to alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals, the federal government would first have change the nation’s pot laws.
Downgrading the plant’s Schedule I classification to a Schedule II could lead to retail chains making the herb available to customers with a prescription. A total repeal of pot prohibition, however, might set the stage for national retailers to distribute a variety of pot products similar to how they do now with beer, wine and hard liquor. Some of these events are already starting to take shape in Canada, which is set to fully legalize marijuana later this year.
Retail giant Walmart has entered into a business deal with a Colorado-based cannabis company. But what does it mean?