Chances are good that Whole Foods Market will soon begin selling cannabis products, the company’s CEO announced last week.
“If cannabis is ever passed in Texas, chances are good that grocery stores will be selling that too,” John Mackey said during a talk hosted by The Texas Tribune. Mackey was asked by an audience member if Whole Foods would ever sell alternative products and, unprompted returned this cannabis-inspired assertion. “You just never know what happens over time with markets. They change and evolve.”
Mackey was then asked which product he thought Whole Foods would start selling first: “bugs or pot brownies?”
“Let’s see what happens with the market and the government regulations over time,” the CEO responded with a smile.
It should come as no surprise that Mackey would be a vocal proponent of putting cannabis products on Whole Food shelves.
In 2013, as more states began to embrace medical marijuana, he voiced support for marijuana legalization in an interview with Mother Jones.
“I am pro-choice, favor legalizing gay marriages, protecting our environment, enforcing strict animal welfare protection laws (I’ve been an ethical vegan for 10 years), marijuana legalization, having a welfare safety net for our poorest or disabled citizens, and a radically reduced defense budget and military presence around the world,” he said at the time.
It would also make sense, from a business perspective, to cash in on marijuana’s momentum. Recreational marijuana is legal in 10 states and Washington, D.C. while medical marijuana is legal in 33 states.
Hemp hearts, seeds, and oils are nothing new to food and body care lovers — they’re in everything from waffle mix to dried pastas,” the company wrote on its website. “But a new interest in the potential benefits stemming from other parts of hemp plants has many brands looking to explore the booming cannabis biz.”
Whether or not Whole Foods will sell actual cannabis or simply products which contain CBD, a derivative of the hemp plant, is left to be seen. The store has hemp listed as one of the top 10 trends of 2019 on its website. In what some would consider a landmark decision, CBD was legalized in 2018’s Farm Bill while cannabis remains federally illegal in all 50 states.
The fate of cannabis products featured on Whole Foods shelves rests heavily on the Federal government. As long as Cannabis remains a Schedule 1 drug, it will never be allowed to be sold directly to the public, on a Federal level. However, the newly signed Farm Bill could at least open the door for hemp-derived CBD products to be sold down the line.