The Ottawa-based company plans to offer tools including online store design, payment, shipping and marketing in more than 40 states to merchants of hemp-derived cannabidiol, which was legalized in December and is found in everything from skin creams to snacks.
“We aren’t really getting into the CBD business, CBD is getting into the retail business,” Loren Padelford, vice president and general manager of Shopify Plus, said in a phone interview ahead of the announcement.
Shopify’s platform is already widely used for online sales of recreational cannabis in Canada, where the drug was legalized 11 months ago. Government-run websites in several provinces including Ontario and British Columbia, as well as private companies like Canopy Growth Corp., Aurora Cannabis Inc. and Hexo Corp., use Shopify’s point-of-sale system.
Padelford declined to say how big the cannabis business could become for Shopify, but cited a recent forecast from BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research that the US CBD market could be worth $20 billion by 2024.
Shopify’s stock has fallen about 17 percent from its recent high on August 27 as investors shifted from growth to value investments, but it’s still up 137 percent this year, making it the second-best performer on Canada’s S&P/TSX Composite Index.
By Kristine Owram; Editors: Brad Olesen, David Scanlan, Jacqueline Thorpe