Dear Thrive Market members and supporters,
In early June, we received a notice from our merchant processor demanding that we cease the sale of all hemp and CBD products on Thrive Market. We unfortunately have no choice but to comply, and we'll begin removing our assortment as early as Thursday, June 20.
As many of our members know, 18 months ago, we became the first national e-commerce retailer to begin carrying a full assortment of hemp-based supplements and topical products. Our decision was based on our review of the health research on CBD, the input of hundreds of our members, and the changing legal landscape that was finally recognizing what hemp farmers, scientists, and informed citizens have long known—that hemp is not the same thing as marijuana and that CBD is neither psychoactive nor harmful.
Over the last year, our decision to take a leadership position on hemp has been validated over and over. Today, just two out of 50 states (Idaho and South Dakota) maintain bans against hemp products, and last December, the 2018 Farm Bill officially removed it from the list of Schedule 1 Controlled Substances.
We've also had the great privilege of getting to know some of the leading producers in the hemp movement. Many are family-run businesses like Charlotte's Web, founded by the Stanley Brothers in Colorado. We've learned so much from pioneers like the Stanleys—about hemp's many uses, about its potential to revitalize farming communities, and about the commitment of hemp farmers to organic practices that are safe and sustainable for the environment.
At Thrive Market, we've never shied away from taking a stand for our values. It's why in 2015 we became the first (and still only) national retailer to go entirely non-GMO in our food catalog due to the use of the carcinogenic herbicide glyphosate on GMO crops. It's also the reason we led a 2016 petition to the USDA that garnered 300,000 signatures to catalyze the first-ever pilot program for accepting food stamps online.
We believe that ethical and sustainable hemp is another cause worth fighting for, so rest assured that we will be working behind the scenes in the coming weeks to get hemp products back on Thrive Market. In fact, we're already in conversations with a new processing partner to try to make that happen.
I want to thank each and every one of you for being a part of this community for good. Without the power of our 500,000-plus members, we wouldn't be able to take the leadership positions we have for positive change. Together, we are more than just a retailer or a membership community—we are a movement.
As always, thank you for Thriving!