CVS Health Corp. announced on March 20 that it intends to sell cannabidiol (CBD) products in 800 stores across eight states, as part of a distribution deal with Curaleaf Holdings Inc. The announcement sent Curaleaf’s stocks soaring, according to Bloomberg.
CVS is expected to begin to carry Curaleaf Hemp lotions and transdermal patches infused with CBD. CVS will be selling the products in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and Tennessee. This pivotal moment is highlighted by the fact that CVS is the largest drugstore in America by total prescription sales revenue. The company has opened nearly 10,000 pharmacy locations. The company will also reportedly sell products from Axcentria’s Elevate CBD brand.
“These products include topicals such as creams, sprays, roll-ons, lotions and salves. We are not selling any CBD-containing supplements or food additives. We have partnered with CBD product manufacturers that are complying with applicable laws and that meet CVS’s high standards for quality,” CVS said in a statement.
On CNBC, in an interview with Jim Cramer, CVS CEO Larry Merlo said the decision was based on a number of personal anecdotes from countless customers who say they have found relief for arthritis, pain and other issues. Merlo also said that CVS isn’t selling CBD products at the moment, although that could change very shortly if the company’s plans pan out.
Following the announcement, Curaleaf’s stock soared 17 percent in Canadian markets. Curaleaf operates over 40 dispensaries spanning 12 states. The company’s profile of products now includes vape pens, patches, tinctures and lotions.
While The U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains that CBD is a drug ingredient, and unproven health claims cannot be made, the latest Farm Bill opened up the doors to CBD reform, with varying degrees of interpretation. Forty-seven states, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. have loosened CBD laws. The products could be available in stores by Friday and through the CVS website shortly.