New York City officials cracked down on cannabidiol (CBD) products on Wednesday, banning bars and restaurants from selling infused products even as several major companies eye expansions into the booming industry.
A legal compound derived from hemp plants, CBD has gained popularity for its purported health benefits and become a popular addition to coffee, cocktails, baked goods and other products. However, the NYC Department of Health said restaurants offering CBD-infused products are in violation of existing laws prohibiting additives in food and drinks.
“Restaurants in New York City are not permitted to add anything to food or drink that is not approved as safe to eat,” a department spokesperson said in a statement obtained by the New York Post. “The Health Department takes seriously its responsibility to protect New Yorkers’ health. Until cannabidiol (CBD) is deemed safe as a food additive, the Department is ordering restaurants not to offer products containing CBD.”
Health Department officials began an embargo on CBD products in January, warning bars and restaurants to stop selling them to the public. Starting on July 1, violations will be subject to fines ranging from $200 to $650.
Hemp was declared a legal substance last December after the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act. However, the Food and Drug Administration has said it will continue to enforce existing restrictions on CBD as a food additive.
Corona beer parent Constellation Brands and Molson-Coors Brewing are among the companies who have invested in legal cannabis companies in recent months with an apparent eye toward developing CBD-infused products in the future.