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Major Retailers Jump on America’s Newest Legal Industry: Products that Include CBD

Sephora, Neiman Marcus, and DSW are now selling CBD Products




Last month, hemp was removed from its Schedule 1 status as a controlled substance when President Trump signed into law, the “Agricultural Improvement Act” more commonly referred to as the “Farm Bill.”


It would be an understatement to say that hemp growers and producers of hemp-derived products were elated with the passage of the bill. The Farm Bill also legalized the production and sale of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), and products produced from CBD.


The beauty industry evidently anticipated the change in the law because it moved with amazing rapidity to incorporate CBD into a number of upscale cosmetic products.


Prior to the signing of the new Farm Bill, although a handful of niche-market beauty and cosmetic brands already sold products that included CBD they were operating in a legal grey area. The beauty industry was able to skirt the legal issues because products derived from hemp seed and/or hemp seed oil could legally be sold in the US if they were produced and grown from hemp plants grown and manufactured outside the United States. Some smaller cosmetic brands also manufactured and sold CBD-derived products, although these products were not technically legal if manufactured or sold for commercial purposes.


The past decade has been particularly challenging for traditional brick and mortar retailers. Bankruptcies and store closings continue to be in the news. Retailers have been devastated by radical changes in consumer shopping behavior due to the rise of online shopping.


Many retailers are now seeing the passage of the Farm Bill as a way to not only create new, innovative and profitable products but also as a way to revitalize their stores’ stodgy images.


Neiman Marcus, the Dallas-based luxury and high-fashion retailer, has jumped on the CBD bandwagon and is selling a line of beauty products that include CBD. Kim D’Angelo, a beauty buyer for Neiman Marcus stated, “Cannabis beauty brands are becoming increasingly popular and CBD products are the next big thing in beauty”. Neiman Marcus’ products that include CBD are now available at stores in Beverly Hills, Boston, Denver, Newport Beach, San Francisco as well as online.


Sephora as well as the footwear retailer, DSW have also joined the rush to incorporate CBD into their product lines.


Sephora is advertising a “high CBD Body Lotion as a restorative, extra-strength, non-psychoactive infused moisturizing lotion, ideal for post-workout recovery.” The cosmetic chain stresses that there is zero THC, the psychoactive agent.


It’s also been described as a “bit peculiar” that  DSW, the discount footwear retailer of designer and brand name shoes is also selling CBD products. DSW’s products are manufactured by Green Growth Brands, a firm that is owned by the family of DSW’s CEO. This sheds light on what otherwise might seem an incongruous arrangement.


A.T. Kearney, the global strategy and management consulting firm indicates that 76% of those surveyed would use cannabis-infused products for therapeutic reasons. Another 41% of those surveyed indicated that they would be willing to try cannabis-based food products. Nearly 40% of the participants surveyed said they would have an improved perception of a company if it were to become “involved” in the cannabis industry, including both the non-psychoactive CBD, as well as the psychoactive THC products.  


Statistics from the Brightfield Group confirm the size of the above market. Brightfield projects that the hemp-CBD market could achieve annual sales of $22 billion by 2022.


Interest by retailers in developing or selling products including hemp oil or hemp seeds, as well as CBD is establishing a new retail category. It would not be surprising to see announcements by many more retailers, large and small into this new legal market over the coming months.


Author: Jeffrey Friedland (jeffrey@jeffreyfriedland.com)




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