With the lucrative cannabidiol-infused product category making waves and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yet to give its blessing, the Kroger Co. is cautiously entering the market.
The retailer will stick to a “carefully curated” selection of topical products made with cannabidiol, or CBD, such as lotions, oils and balms, according to a spokesperson, which means tinctures and other edibles will not be available for the time being.
In the coming weeks, the products will hit shelves across 17 states and will also be available for pickup.
However, the retailer will not yet be able to sell these items in its home state of Ohio, which still prohibits the sale of hemp-derived products, NBC4 reported.
According to Kroger officials, the CBD product lineup is “from suppliers that have been reviewed for quality and safety.”
Meanwhile, other retailers are taking a less cautious approach to CBD. For example, Fairway Market rolled out a private label CBD line early this year, West Coast retailers such as Alfalfa’s Market have centered entire promotions around the category and major drugstores such as CVS and Walgreens are entering the market.
In a recent hearing with the FDA, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) pushed for better guidance for CBD products, which have remained in unclear territory since the passing of the 2019 Farm Bill. The bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act but did not clear it at a federal level.
At the hearing, Peter Matz, director of food and health policy for FMI, Arlington, Va., pressed the “seriousness of the regulatory ambiguity facing our member companies and their customers each day as consumer demand for products containing hemp and hemp derivatives continues to grow.”
“FMI sees the regulatory challenges surrounding the legal and appropriate sale of hemp and hemp-derived products as a critically important policy issue,” he said. “And, given the prevalence of these products in the marketplace, we respectfully urge the FDA to move swiftly to provide additional clarity and establish a pathway forward.”