For years, California restaurants, cafes, and bars have been mixing CBD into their alcoholic drinks. It’s often offered as a health supplement or a novelty item, for those willing to pay a bit more. But a recently signed bill has now made it illegal for businesses to infuse alcoholic beverages with CBD.
This is the result of Governor Jerry Brown signing Assembly Bill 2914. The move doesn’t come as much of a surprise. California Department of Public Health Officials has been very vocal about the wariness they believe businesses owners should have toward CBD. Until this trendy cannabis compound is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they recommend that businesses steer clear to avoid the potential risks of selling infused drinks to customers. Now that their stance has been signed into law, alcoholic beverage retailers and producers run the risk of losing their licenses and paying fines if they don’t abide.
This comes in the wake of an explosive CBD trend that took the nation by storm. It was only a couple months ago that consumers were buying just everything and anything infused with the compound. The market expanded into a billion-dollar industry, getting small business owners excited to keep producing all kinds of novel CBD-infused products like balms, lotions, creams, oils, beers, teas, and even dog treats.
Now, the fate of these businesses that offer CBD-infused beer is unknown. That puts small businesses in a tough spot since producing these kinds of novelty products is often the most viable way to compete with larger cannabis-product retailers. How the industry will react is yet to be seen.
Some wonder why the compound has been prohibited. CBD (cannabidiol) is by far the least controversial part of cannabis culture, mostly because it can’t get users high and it has a reputation for having medicinal benefits. These medicinal qualities are one of its biggest selling points, but retailers often don’t share with consumers just how uncertain those benefits are. In fact, they may be completely nonexistent. Little research has found the cure-all medicinal qualities that users often claim to experience, and that’s using highly concentrated laboratory-controlled studies. Diluting and destroying the compound by baking, burning, mixing, and rubbing it should only make its effects weaker.
Perhaps there’s some truth to the urgings of the Golden State’s Department of Public Health to wait for FDA approval before selling CBD-infused alcohol to the masses. But Governor Brown’s new bill will no doubt harm small businesses trying to take advantage of the newest trend in the fledgling cannabis market.