NEW YORK – The City of New York may be known for its cuisine, but some popular items are being taken off of the menu. A ban announced several months ago on CBD infused food and beverages has officially gone into effect.
This comes as CBD cocktails and dishes have been building in popularity in New York City. The unregulated market has been a concern for city health officials for some time, especially as the full effects of combining CBD and alcohol remain unclear. A recent study linked high doses of CBD with liver damage in mice.
City officials claim the ban is necessary in order to comply with FDA guidelines. Although industrial hemp was removed from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s list of banned substances, the FDA has raised concerns over ingesting CBD through food, beverages, and capsules.
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has advised that it is unlawful to add cannabidiol (CBD) to food or drink,” NYC’s Department of Health said in a statement. “We have been informing businesses in New York City that may sell food and drink about this regulation to help them achieve compliance.”
Now health officials will search for CBD during health and safety inspections of restaurants and bars. For the time being, items found to be in violation will be embargoed. However, starting October 1, each violation could incur a fine of up to $600.
When the ban was announced months ago, city council member and health committee member, Mark Levine, vowed to push back on the ban.
“CBD is legal in most states, doesn’t get you high, and has even been approved for some medical uses by the FDA,” Levine said in a release. “At a time when we are finally moving away from prohibition of marijuana, this is a step backwards, and DOHMH has yet to offer a substantive explanation about why such a drastic step needed to be taken now.”
Although Congress legalized industrial hemp (and its derivatives including CBD) in December with the passage of the Agricultural Improvement act of 2018 (farm bill), many regulatory questions remain unanswered. A public hearing was held in May, but it appears the FDA will not issue its final regulations for some time.