<National Report>This September, the world’s largest retailer may also become America’s biggest drug dealer, after Walmart revealed on Monday their plans to begin selling marijuana in stores in both Colorado and Washington State, where recreational marijuana has been legalized.
Walmart hopes to begin selling recreational marijuana in their Colorado stores beginning in September, and in Washington State beginning in January. They plan to sell marijuana in varying amounts, as well as marijuana-laced baked goods and paraphernalia, including bongs, pipes, papers, and more.
Walmart’s marijuana will be produced in-house. The company announced that they’re currently working with State and Federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies to establish three “industrial-sized” marijuana “production facilities,” all of which will be located in Colorado. Walmart plans to invest an ironic $420 million into those facilities over the next six years, and claims their early profit estimates range close to $2.3 billion yearly.
“Walmart is a corporation that tries to stay at the forefront of ingenuity and private sector innovation,” states a press release issued by the company Monday morning. “We realize that the legalization of recreational marijuana is something a majority of Americans are rooting for, and that it is only a matter of time before marijuana can be purchased legally in all fifty states. And when that day comes, we want our customers all across this great nation to know that you can count on Walmart to sell you only the finest marijuana products available, all for incredibly competitive prices.”
The press release also says that the company hopes to distribute marijuana in States where medical use is legal, but notes that federal trafficking laws may delay or entirely prohibit Walmart’s efforts on that front. “We hope our continued work with lawmakers and law enforcement agencies will lead to interstate commerce legislation that would be beneficial to our cause,” the company says. “We hope fair and mutually-beneficial compromises can be reached that would allow us to carry out these plans in a profitable way.”
Proponents of the marijuana legalization movement have had mixed reactions to Walmart’s news. The marijuana advocacy group NORML claims that Walmart’s plans “will most likely have a negative impact on any future marijuana industry in this country,” adding “it’s never a good sign when huge corporations immediately want to hone in and drive out small businesses, before they even have a chance to establish themselves.” But the Cannabis Business Alliance disagrees, stating on their website Monday that “this is the sort of business leadership we’ve been waiting for. Major corporations involving themselves in our cause, and lending their lobbying power to legalization, is good for cannabis and good for America.” One CBA organizer joked on his Twitter account that he’s “looking forward to watching those falling prices while I’m baked.”
Walmart admits they still have major hurdles standing in their path, mostly regarding the States’ limitations on the quantities they’re allowed to sell. But according to their press release, Walmart’s execs aren’t too concerned about that. “Our company has an excellent track record when it comes to affecting positive change, and we’re confident that within three years, consumers will be able to buy whole shopping carts loaded with marijuana in our Sam’s Club wholesale locations. National legalization is coming, and when it does, Walmart will be ready.”