California Governor Jerry Brown has banned the sale of CBD-infused alcoholic beverages. This law comes after California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control ruled in July that it was illegal for businesses to serve alcohol with CBD; however, those rules were not codified until now. The new law hinders businesses who have been serving such concoctions since 2015. The reasoning behind the law may come from comments by the County Health Executives Association of California, which believes that the relatively unknown effects of cannabis combined with alcohol may cause harm to Californians. Since this law is not backed by available scientific research or statements from reputable institutions such as the World Health Organization, it reminds activists that the knowledge of CBD must be disseminated further.
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California Bans CBD-Infused Alcohol
Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 2914, which effectively prohibits the sale of CBD-infused alcoholic beverages by licensed establishments.
The law states more broadly, “that no alcoholic beverage shall be manufactured, sold, or offered for sale if it contains tetrahydrocannabinol or cannabinoids, regardless of source.”
Some businesses in California have been experimenting with the medicinal cannabinoid in drinks since 2015.
AB-2914 could now cause those businesses to have their licenses suspended or revoked if they do not comply.
California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control foreshadowed this move in July when it released rules making it illegal to put CBD or THC into alcoholic beverages.
The new law codifies the department’s rules.
What Caused the Ban?
California has several laws already in place that separate cannabis and alcohol. Bars will not receive licenses to sell cannabis, and cannabis dispensaries will not obtain licenses to serve alcohol.
The County Health Executives Association of California made comments to the state Senate about the bill, saying that combining the “relatively unknown effects of cannabis” with what is known about alcohol could cause harm to Californians.
While THC may present some problems as a result of its psychoactive effects, CBD seems to present no harm.
According to the World Health Organization, CBD “does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm.” Additionally, with the current research, WHO also believes CBD should not be a scheduled substance.
The FDA also recently stated that CBD should not be a scheduled substance, but must be considered one because of international treaties that the US is a signatory of.
Current research on CBD’s interaction with alcohol shows CBD may help prevent damage done by alcohol in the brain and liver, reduce blood-alcohol levels, or it may have little to no interaction with alcohol whatsoever.
What Does This Mean for CBD?
Despite the setback for the CBD industry in California, CBD is becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in health and wellness drinks.
Coca-Cola’s interest in the market has provided significant credence to the industry and has heightened interest in the future of wellness beverages.
For California, this law signals to activists that new and existing research must reach lawmakers. Also, more dedicated studies are needed to understand the interaction of CBD and cannabis with alcohol.
While the new law may hinder businesses in California for the time being, further reliable research may help California loosen restrictions on CBD.