Oregon is famous for its high-quality marijuana and craft beer, but the state seems to be keeping the two apart for now.
Since the federal government legalized hemp and removed it from the list of Controlled Substances, hemp and its derived products are flooding the consumer market. CBD, or cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive and anti-inflammatory substance, which is derived from hemp has become widely popular.
People are using CBD oil in their meals, body care, and wellness products and even for their pet’s meals. From CBD gummies, topicals, ointment, cream, oil, drinks to clothes, CBD is sprawling across different industries.
However, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission recently said in a new ruling that beer and other alcoholic drinks as of January 1 may not contain either CBD, the non-psychoactive part of hemp, or THC, the psychoactive part of cannabis.
The agency regulates both recreational marijuana and alcoholic products, and with the rising concerns over the effects of CBD, it has decided to stop the production of CBD-infused alcoholic beverages.
According to the Farm Bill by the federal government, the maximum concentration of allowed THC is 0.3% per dry weight. Many products often contain higher levels of THC, which may give a positive drug test.
But consumers are unaware of how much THC levels are actually present in a product that they buy from online websites or brick and mortar shops. While many brands claim their products are authentic and have higher levels of pure cannabis oil, they often contain high traces of THC as well.
The spokesperson for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, Mark Pettinger, cited concerns from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of potential liver damage from CBD.
Pettinger said they had been wanting to address the issue of CBD infused alcohol because there is little information available about its safety and long term effects. There’s not much scientific evidence that proves the medicinal claims of CBD. While it is being reported as a potent substance in reducing pain and anxiety by users, it is still unknown how CBD interacts with other substances like medicines.
The only CBD product approved by the U.S. FDA is Epidiolex, an oral solution used to reduce seizures in two rare and severe forms of epilepsy- Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome.
In Oregon, one of the most popular CBD-infused beers is the Two Flowers IPA, in The EastBurn, a Portland-based pub, says Micheal Fritz, one of the owners.
Fritz said they were the first to put it on tap, and it was a nice IPA. Fritz further added that he hasn’t noticed any additional effects from the CBD infused beer beside the alcohol. If someone has three beers, they will feel like they have had three beers, said Fritz.
Coalition Brewing recently went out of business, said Fritz, adding that his own customers had the last of the CBD-infused beer about ten days ago. The beer was a superb seller for them.
Pettinger said he didn’t know about any other brewery based in Oregon that makes CBD-infused beer. He said until the federal agencies create a regulatory framework surrounding CBD and its products, his agency felt it was important to step in and impose the ban as for now.
The Oregon agency plans to work on banning a bar from mixing CBD based non-alcoholic beverages on the premises with an alcoholic beverage to create a CBD cocktail.
Oregon has always been at the forefront to legalize cannabis. In fact, Oregon was the first state to decriminalize recreational use in 2014 and legalized medical marijuana in 1998. But the state is in a bind now as the federal regulations surrounding CBD, a compound derived from hemp, has not caught up with the legalization of hemp on a national level.
Democrats Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, Oregon’s two senators, worked with Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, a Republican from Kentucky, to legalize industrial hemp in 2018.
Merkley told reporters on Thursday that he is searching for an additional $2 million in the nation’s budget bill to help the FDA improve CBD oil regulations. In addition to this, Pettinger noted that the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, which permits any formula for any kind of alcoholic drink has not yet approved the use of cannabidiol in any drinks.
Last year, the TTB had ordered Black Hammer Brewing of San Fransisco to stop making CBD infused beer, including the one known as Toke Back Mountain. Long Tail Brewing nestled in Vermont was also told by the federal agency last year to stop making its CBD-infused beer, known as the Medicator.
Drew Vetere, the brewery’s spokesperson said they are kind of treating it that they will have to lay low and not produce CBD infused beer for a while.