Walmart considering selling marijuana as medicine in Canada

As Canada is set to legalize marijuana use on Oct. 17, 2018, Walmart—the world’s largest employer—is seriously considering adding cannabis products alongside other medications in its aisles in the country, according to Hemp Industry Daily.

Walmart is reportedly exploring the possibility of selling products with cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive cannabinoid of the cannabis plant. However, there are no immediate plans to sell such products.

“As we would for any new industry, Walmart Canada has done some preliminary fact-finding on this issue,” Walmart spokeswoman Anika Malik told Hemp Industry Daily. “But we do not have plans to carry CBD products at this time.”

Recently, beverage company Coca-Cola was reportedly eyeing a similar idea to sell CBD-infused products. Coca-Cola also denied it has any plans to sell such products in the immediate future.

While Walmart might not be actively prepping to stock its shelves with marijuana-related products, it is taking a closer look at how it can lower healthcare costs for its 2.2 million employees and millions of customers, according to CNBC. Behind wages, healthcare insurance is Walmart’s largest expense.

Walmart is not the only large company—or retailer—looking for ways to lower healthcare costs for its employees. Amazon teamed up with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to attempt the same feat as a separate entity.

In addition, rising healthcare costs could impact the company’s bottom line as more consumers will have less to spend at the retailer’s locations.

“Walmart customers will need to spend an estimated $750 billion more on out-of-pocket healthcare costs in five years than they do today, compared with $250 billion in additional estimated spending on retail goods,” CNBC wrote, citing Walmart exec Lori Flees.

Not to mention, Walmart has been rumored to be interested in acquiring health insurance company Humana, and the company recently hired a former Humana executive to head up its health and wellness division.