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MarketWatch reports that drug store chain CVS is selling products containing CBD, the non-intoxicating compound derived from cannabis, in eight states.

The products include creams, sprays, roll-ons, lotions and salves, all from Curaleaf Holdings.

The states in which the items are being sold are Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and Tennessee. The MarketWatch story notes that “recreational marijuana is legal in California and Colorado, medical marijuana is legal in Illinois and Maryland, but marijuana has not been made legal for recreational nor medicinal uses in the other states.”

A CVS spokesperson characterized the decision as being “partnered with CBD product manufacturers that are complying with applicable laws and that meet CVS’s high standards for quality.”

In an interview with CNBC, CVS CEO Larry Merlo said that “we're gonna walk slowly, but we think this is something that customers are going to be looking for as part of the health offering.” Merlo said that “anecdotally, we've heard from our customers that have used those products that, gee, it's helped with pain relief for arthritis and other ailments.”
KC's View:
Two things.

First, this tells us that CVS’s risk tolerance is maybe a little higher than we might’ve believed - it’ll be interesting if they get any blowback in these markets, or if the opposite happens, and they start to hear a kind of “what about us?” clamoring from customers in other states where they’d like access to these products. (The expectation is that CVS will shortly make CBD products available on its website “shortly.”)

Second … we will feature a new “Retail Tomorrow” podcast on Monday, recorded at the recent South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, in which I talk with two people who are part of the cannabis investor class - they clarify a lot about the current state of the business, and I hope you’ll find it as illuminating as I did. Sio stay tuned.