Over 800 CVS stores will start carrying CBD products

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CVS stores in eight U.S. states will begin carrying CBD topicals this week, according to information released on Wednesday from Curaleaf Holdings Inc. The company announced a deal to sell products with CBD derived from hemp at 800 CVS stores during an earnings conference call with investors.

CVS is the largest pharmacy chain in the U.S. with nearly 10,000 locations. A CVS spokesman confirmed in an email to MarketWatch that the company was entering the CBD market and began selling creams, sprays, roll-ons, lotions, and salves last week.

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“We have partnered with CBD product manufacturers that are complying with applicable laws and that meet CVS’s high standards for quality,” the spokesman said.

CVS stores in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, and Tennessee will be selling CBD products. The company said that it would not be selling any supplements or food products with CBD.

Curaleaf CEO Joseph Lusardi said on the conference call Wednesday that the company’s products would be sold at about 800 CVS stores to start and hoped to see that number increase. Curaleaf hemp lotions and patches should be available in CVS stores by Friday and on the company’s website “soon,” he said.

Lusardi said that Curaleaf is also negotiating distribution deals with other large consumer outlets.

“We’ve been having dialogue with national retailers for many months now,” said Lusardi. “We’ve got a number of potentially exciting partnerships in the pipeline.”

Curaleaf Expands Its Reach

Curaleaf operates 40 cannabis dispensaries in 12 states, with recent acquisitions bringing the company into the lucrative California and Nevada markets. The firm recently launched a line of products with hemp CBD, including lotions, patches, tinctures, and vape pens. Although hemp and products derived from hemp were legalized with the 2018 Farm Bill, the Food and Drug Administration continues to treat CBD as a drug and has banned the use of the cannabinoid in foods and beverages pending new regulation. The agency has announced that it will hold hearings in April to pursue a legal pathway to make CBD available to consumers. CBD products are still widely available, however, and pills, capsules, lotions, vapes, tinctures, patches, and other cannabidiol products can be easily found in many states.

Stock prices were up for both companies in trading on Thursday after the announcement of the distribution deal. Curaleaf was up nearly 20 percent at more than $8 per share despite announcing a loss of $16.5 million on Wednesday. Revenue for the quarter was $32 million, up from $6.3 million the previous year. The stock has risen more than 50 percent in the last three months. Shares in CVS were up more than 2 percent in Thursday’s trading.

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