When the law lags behind social change, it’s the duty of citizens to challenge that law. At least, this seems to be the philosophy of Lucky’s Market, a natural food retailer, that recently decided to introduce cannabis-based products to its shelves without legal approval.
The products that Lucky’s Market are introducing contain a specific cannabinoid, CBD, that has gained more widespread acceptance for medical use due to its lack of psychoactive properties (in other words, it doesn’t get you “high”). Some expect the market for CBD, which is much more easily marketed than its psychoactive cousin THC, to reach $3 billion in the next five years.
Lucky’s Market is based in Colorado, the first state (alongside Washington) to legalize marijuana. But these CBD products will not be exclusive to Colorado’s Lucky’s Markets. In fact, about 25 Lucky’s Markets stores all across the U.S. are now selling products that contain CBD.
The legality of Lucky’s Market’s move to sell CBD products is highly contested by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as CBD remains a federally listed Schedule I substance.
In response to the heightened demand for CBD and cannabis-based products, the DEA even recently clarified its stance on CBD and other marijuana derivatives.
“Because recent public inquiries that DEA has received following the publication of the Final Rule suggest there may be some misunderstanding about the source of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, we also note the following botanical considerations. As the scientific literature indicates, cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabidiol (CBD), are found in the parts of the cannabis plant that fall within the CSA definition of marijuana, such as the flowering tops, resin, and leaves.” Reads the DEA’s “Clarification of the New Drug Code (7350) for Marijuana Extract.”
Many have been quick to point out that Target was, in fact, the first to make a bold stride into the cannabis market, when, in September, it began selling CBD oils online. But their courage didn’t last long: shortly after the company’s foray into the marijuana market became publicized, they pulled their CBD products from their online store. They’ve remained quiet on the issue ever since, suggesting that the sale of CBD products was either accidental or intended to be done secretly.
Bo Sharon on the other hand, the founder of Lucky’s market, openly supports the decision to sell marijuana-based products and believes it will help the company stay ahead of the curve and responsive to consumer demand.
And also unlike Target, Lucky’s Market has no problem publicizing their sale of cannabis-based products. “We’re not afraid to be disruptive and pave the path and be pioneers,” said Sindy Wise, Lucky’s director of apothecary, said to The Cannabist. Wise claims that CBD is “the next big thing in terms of natural medicine,” and hopes that the company’s decision will help to reduce the stigma attached to cannabis-based products.
It’s still uncertain how the Lucky’s Market experiment will end. Hopefully, with more stores pushing for the sale of CBD and other cannabis-based products. But it’s also possible that, like other retailers who have jumped the gun on cannabis, the police will intervene. Whatever the end result, the decision has certainly given the company lots of free advertising, and at least for customers who support marijuana use, great PR.