Southeastern Grocers has launched a range of cannabidiol (CBD) products at 152 Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo supermarkets in Florida and South Carolina.
The Jacksonville, Fla.-based grocer said Monday that the stores now offer 65 CBD items, including topicals such as oils and ointments, supplement pills and pet products. Brands include Charlotte’s Web, Plus CBD Oil, MedTerra, Veritas Farms, Sunsoil, Irwin Naturals and Harmony Hemp.
Southeastern Grocers said the rollout marks the debut of CBD products at its stores and makes the company the first conventional retailer in the Southeast to sell all three varieties — topical, supplement and pet CBD items.
The CBD suppliers underwent a rigorous, nearly yearlong evaluation, and Southeastern Grocers is “very confident in their quality and reliability,” a spokeswoman for the retailer said. The products are being positioned as alternative remedies, as the category is seeing increased consumer demand. One in seven U.S. adults now use CBD products, according to a Gallup poll cited by Southeastern Grocers.
“We are constantly evaluating potential new products that will provide our customers with the most relevant and up-to-date alternative treatment methods,” Andrew Nadin, executive vice president and chief customer officer at Southeastern Grocers, said in a statement. “With the growing mainstream acceptance of CBD-infused items across the United States, we will continue to diligently research additional ways to bring safe, high-quality products that can positively impact our customers’ lives.”
Southeastern Grocers noted that CBD is used as a treatment for a variety of illnesses and ailments, such as anxiety, insomnia and epilepsy. One of the many cannabinoids found in marijuana and hemp, CBD has an extremely low content of psychoactive ingredient THC and doesn’t cause a “high.” The retailer added that it’s a member of the Florida Hemp Council and working with the state to help grow the market for CBD products.
Additional stores will be considered for CBD products as Southeastern Grocers expands its offerings and footprint in 2020, the spokeswoman said. Overall, the retailer operates about 570 stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina under the Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Harveys Supermarket and Fresco y Más banners.
The CBD category’s market potential has drawn the interest of retailers large and small, yet many remain uncertain about the regulatory framework regarding the sale and labeling of hemp-containing products, even as various CBD offerings make their way into stores.
Late last year, the federal government changed its classification of cannabis with the enactment of the Farm Bill. The legislation removed hemp from the Federal Controlled Substances Act’s definition of marijuana. That meant hemp was no longer a controlled substance under federal law, even though marijuana remains a Schedule I drug.
Under current federal law, CBD and THC can’t be added to a food or marketed as a dietary supplement. The Food and Drug Administration maintains regulatory oversight of food, cosmetics, drugs and other products within its jurisdiction that have CBD, THC or the cannabis plant as an additive.