Crackdowns are happening amid California’s Green Rush. The targets? Restaurants and bars.
According to the Orange County Register, Coffee Dose, a Costa Mesa coffee shop was offering trendy CBD lattes until two months ago, when health officials made it clear that even though California legalized cannabis in January, CBD infused food and drink is not allowed. Jeni and Oscar Castro, the owners of Coffee Dose, were told they could face a civil fine if they didn’t follow the rules.
Earlier this month, the California Department of Public Health issued a statement explaining that: “Although California currently allows the manufacturing and sales of cannabis products (including edibles), the use of industrial hemp as the source of CBD to be added to food products is prohibited. Until the FDA rules that industrial hemp-derived CBD oil and CBD products can be used as a food or California makes a determination that they are safe to use for human and animal consumption, CBD products are not an approved food, food ingredient, food additive, or dietary supplement.”
The new rules affect far more businesses than the Coffee Dose, as many LA restaurants and bars serve CBD cocktails, offer it as a supplement, or add it to menus. Gracias Madre was one of the first LA restaurants to serve CBD cocktails as early as 2016, and Pattern Bar followed suit last year.Bondi Harvest and Moon Juice offer CBD shots in any drink, and at The Spring in Downtown, owners Tony Esnault and Yassmin Sarmadi are staunch believers in CBD. The husband and wife team began serving a CBD power lunch in Downtown beginning in early 2017.
Supporters of the change want order in the burgeoning industry, and believe the “green” explosion has opened the door for too many questionable businesses that use CBD as a gimmick. How will the health department deal with $59 CBD shakes in West Hollywood, or a hemp taco stand in Downtown? It’s unclear at the moment.
You can also add Seattle to that (presumably) growing list. Café Hitchcock was told to stop selling its popular CBD lattes in April. Owner Brendan McGill told Seattle Magazine at the time:
Unfortunately, King County Public Health has decided to take a regressive stance on the use of CBD as a food additive. Although cafés in many other Washington counties as well as in Oregon, California, Washington D.C. and NYC are not regulating its use, as it is federally legal, traded across state lines and internationally with no special permitting, is demonstrably not psychoactive and offers tremendous health benefits as well as its signature relaxing effect, we have been instructed to immediately stop serving the extract. I have reached out to discuss this and find out the reasoning behind the decision but as of yet have not heard back from Public Health.”
The Castros say they’ve noticed a 30 percent decrease in business since removing CBD from their menu. Meanwhile, their attorney, Dana Cisneros, with Cannabis Corporate Law Firm in Anaheim Hills, says she’s helping the couple fight back by seeking corporate sponsors.