Rite Aid to Start Selling Hemp CBD Topicals in Two States

Written by: Adam Drury – High Times

In March, Walgreens and CVS made headlines when they began offering certain cannabidiolproducts in select states. On Thursday, Rite Aid joined them, announcing plans to roll out CBD products in 200 stores across Oregon and Washington. Rite Aid’s initial move into the CBD market isn’t as bold as its two competitors’. But it’s part of a broader refresh of product offerings geared toward wellness, including an end to the sale of e-cigarettes.

Rite Aid Joins CVS and Walgreens with CBD Product Offerings in Oregon and Washington

Health and beauty aisles in 200 Rite Aid pharmacies across the Pacific Northwest will soon carry select CBD products, the company announced Thursday. Rite has so far remained tight-lipped about the specific brands and products stores will carry. But Rite Aid shoppers can expect to see hemp CBD-infused products like lip balm and other topicals.

From creams and lotions to salves and roll-ons, Rite is following Walgreens and CVS in sticking strictly to topicals. Despite the federal legalization of hemp and hemp derivatives like cannabidiol earlier this year, FDA restrictions on CBD edibles and dietary supplements are preventing major retail chains from offering oils and other ingestible products.

But companies are eyeing the evolving regulatory landscape closely, as well as the bourgeoning cannabidiol market. As FDA rules shift to cover the emerging hemp industry, retail pharmacies will look to introduce a wider range of products.

Rite Aid is distinguishing itself from its competitors in one regard, however. The company saysit will no longer cell e-cigarettes in any of its stores. Rite Aid Chief Operating Officer Bryan Everett cited concerns over a “teen vaping epidemic.”

Unlike CVS, which halted the sale of all tobacco products half a decade ago, Rite Aid, like Walgreens, still sells cigarettes.

Can Rite Aid Compete with the Northwest’s Cannabis Industry?

The enthusiasm around CBD-infused health and beauty items only continues to grow. And in terms of hemp industry-friendly state regulations, Oregon and Washington are some of the most hospitable states for CBD. CVS and Walgreens have already introduced CBD topicals in both states. With offerings in 200 stores, Rite Aid joins the pack.

Thanks to their well-established medical and retail cannabis industries, consumers in Washington and Oregon are well-versed in all the wellness alternatives cannabis has to offer. In states without legal weed, hemp-derived CBD is the next best thing.

But unlike its competitors, Rite Aid isn’t offering CBD products in any prohibition states. So will CBD consumers in Oregon and Washington line up to buy their hemp skincare products at Rite Aid? In a statement announcing its new product lineup, Rite Aid said it “heard from many customers about their interest in purchasing CBD products.”

But in Washington and Oregon, consumers and patients have access to cannabis-derived CBD products in their local dispensaries and weed shops, including oils, tinctures and edibles.

There are significant differences between hemp-derived CBD and CBD extracted from cannabis flowers. Consumers and patients familiar with the difference are likely to prefer the more robust effects of cannabis-derived CBD, or products containing a mix of CBD and THC.