Oregon bars drain CBD brews before state crackdown

Special Reports

Ban on CBD in alcoholic beverages takes effect Jan. 1, 2020

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon is well known for its beer and cannabis, but starting Wednesday businesses will have to keep the two separate. Now, local breweries and bars are working to get rid of their CBD-infused booze before the deadline.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission said the ban is needed because there “is a federal standard that CBD is potentially harmful and should not be added to products intended for human consumption.” The agency cited concerns raised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of potential liver damage from CBD and said the state needed to step in until federal agencies create regulations.

The rules take effect Jan. 1, 2020, less than two weeks after they were announced. Some bars have cut their prices to get rid of their stock.

But the OLCC said it will focus on education rather than penalties for the first month.

(Oregon Liquor Control Commission)

CBD is still allowed in non-alcoholic products like sodas, but it has to be derived from hemp, not marijuana.

That’s good news for Steve Puga who owns FOB Taproom in Canby. He added a CBD soda to his taplist about a year ago, wanting to offer a non-alcoholic beverage to customers. After undergoing neck surgery, he said he can attest to the benefits of CBD.

“Decreased anxiety, relaxed the muscles, just kind of made you feel a little bit more calm, basically,” Puga said. “Those are things we tend to hear from customers…”

But he’ll still have to abide by increased regulations in the new year; mainly, proving his Boneyard Elixir lemon ginger drink is legal. The distributor is supposed to provide him with that documentation, he said.

“I don’t know if that’s going to happen in time before the January 1 deadline,” Puga said. “I was gonna order more this past week but not knowing what’s going to happen, I decided not to.”

Steve Puga, owner of FOB Taproom, added a CBD soda to his taplist in 2018 (Hannah Ray Lambert)

The OLCC’s ban won’t necessarily last forever.

“As we learn more about the scientific implications of using CBD products we will consider the best and safest options for accommodating safe integration of CBD into the regulated alcohol system,” OLCC Executive Director Steven Marks wrote in a letter to licensees dated Dec. 19.

Oregon brewers and sellers aren’t the only ones who have been impacted by hazy regulations surrounding CBD. Last year, the federal government ordered a brewery in Vermont, and another in San Francisco, to stop producing beer containing cannabidiol because they had failed to apply for permission to use a non-standard ingredient. According to the OLCC, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is not currently approving any formulas that contain CBD.

(Oregon Liquor Control Commission)

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