Despite CBD Ban on Amazon, Products Are Still Available on the Platform

December 23, 2019 16:00:15

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been having an incredibly amazing run for the past few years. The hemp extract rose from near obscurity to the top of most searched lists, with experts estimating the market for CBD to be worth billions by 2026. Why is CBD so popular? The chemical is an extremely potent and versatile medicine, with users claiming it gave them relief from a variety of ailments including insomnia and chronic pain.

However, CBD faces a tough time due to its relation to the illicit marijuana. Although the 2018 Farm Bill made industrial hemp (cannabis with less than 0.3% THC) and by extension CBD legal at the federal level, state law on CBD is patchy. Some states allow it and some have outlawed it.

This has resulted in a market that sellers have to navigate through very carefully if they wish to earn a profit. Platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, and Instagram don’t allow CBD sellers to advertise or sell, but an investigation by the Washington Post found a number of CBD products gracing Amazon’s pages.

Amazon’s policy clearly prohibits the sale of CBD-infused products, but the investigation found out that it’s actually quite easy to buy CBD products, granted that you know what you’re looking for. The Post purchased a number of products and sent them to Evio Labs for analysis.

Eleven of the thirteen products tested had CBD in them, and one even had a small amount of THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the compound responsible for the mind-altering effects of marijuana, and it is illegal at the federal level.

One of the tested products belongs to Weller, a Colorado-based seller of CBD products. The products they sell on Amazon and the ones on their website have different packaging, and CBD is conspicuously absent from the packaging of the products on Amazon.

John Simmons, Weller co-founder, says it’s the same product. It is the result of trying to operate and survive in a business with inconsistent rules. Although none of the listings mention CBD as an ingredient, consumers can find them if they already know what contains CBD and what doesn’t or by checking reviews, social media or other third-party testing websites.

Amazon says that it employs advanced algorithms designed to sniff out descriptions hinting at CBD. The company has declined to say why it bans CBD sales, but it asserted its right to choose what is can sell, just like any other retailer. However, Amazon is supplied by millions of sellers, listing hundreds of millions of items, and some are bound to slip through the cracks.

It is unlikely that established CBD companies like Youngevity International Inc. (NASDAQ: YGYI) and The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) would go to the extent of altering product labels in order to sell using a platform that doesn’t allow CBD, but one can almost sympathize with the smaller companies who go to such lengths in order to stay afloat.

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