The Oregon Liquor Control Commission passed a ban Thursday on creating and selling alcohol that’s been blended or infused with CBD. The ban goes into effect almost immediately, on Jan. 1 according to OPB.
The Growler Guys in South Portland has 40 different beers on tap, said Sue Wise. She orders them and said her customers aren’t going to give the OLCC any praise on the ban on infusing alcohol with CBD.
“People feel like the CBD in the beer is helpful, whether it’s for muscle pain or other injuries they have. People really believe the CBD helps them,” said Wise.
Patrons still have a good amount of options. The ban doesn’t apply to drinks that aren’t alcoholic and Growler Guys has four taps of CBD-infused soft drinks.
So, what is Wise’s take on customers being stoked on getting their CBD beer from other products as an alternative to alcohol?
“They may,” she said. “But they still prefer the beer.”
Up until this point, Oregon has been fairly lax in its attitude toward CBD consumption and CBD-infused beverages. In 2015 the state legislature said hemp and marijuana could legally be added to foods.
Several Oregon brewers jumped on the CBD-infused beer and alcohol wave and started selling beers blended with CBD, which many people use for a variety of medicinal purposes.
The executive director, Steve Marks, said CBD-infused beers are not exactly legal.
“Both federal government and [the state] should be enforcing against that,” said Marks.
To some extent, Marks is falling in line with the regulations used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In November, it said it doesn’t consider CBD safe for use in food because of limited research.
Marks said the OLCC’s ban is necessary for three distinct reasons. First, companies aren’t adequately testing CBD to measure the exact amount that is being mixed into drinks. Second, he’s worried some of the psychoactive ingredients of marijuana are being included in products.
“And the third thing is CBD themselves, while they’re greatly purported for their health effects, there is a lot of concern about particularly the effect of high quantities of CBD on the liver, which is also affected by alcohol,” said Marks.
OPB said that some Oregon brewers have attempted to go through loop holes around the upcoming limitations that’s anticipated with the OLCC’s new ban by obtaining CBD from sources other than cannabis, such as bark, lichen, yeast and citrus fruits. But the OLCC’s new rule says all CBDs are banned, wherever they come from.
Deschutes Brewery in Bend developed a CBD-infused beer about a year ago. But it was unable to get the recipe accepted by the FDA – a step all brewers are supposed to follow.
OLCC chief Steve Marks is well aware of the loophole and said the agency is working on a ban against that too.
“We’re considering just outright saying that it’s an adulterant for alcohol so you wouldn’t just be able to mix the cocktails,” said Marks.
That rule was initialized Thursday but is expected to take about four months before being adopted.