SLO County orders restaurants to stop putting CBD in food and drinks

A trend among restaurants and juice bars of infusing Cannabidiol in food and drinks has caught the eye of San Luis Obispo County food inspectors, who say the businesses are getting an illegal head start on use of the additive and must remove it from their products. [KSBY]

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is derived from cannabis, hemp in particular, but it is not psychoactive and does not get users high. The 2018 federal Farm Bill decriminalized hemp, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to rule that CBD oil can be used as a food additive.

Meanwhile, the California legislature is considering a bill that would legalize CBD use in food. But, the state Attorney General’s Office has issued a directive saying, until the FDA rules on the matter or California adopts a law, CBD cannot be used as a food ingredient, additive or dietary supplement.

In turn, the SLO County Food Inspection Department recently mailed notices to the owners of more than 1,600 local restaurants and cafes warning them that CBD and hemp cannot yet be legally added to food and drinks and ordering them to remove the additive or face confiscation of products. No fines for violators are expected, though.

The restaurant and juice bar Seeds on Garden Street in downtown SLO offers an on-tap Kombucha drink infused with CBD. The drink has been very popular, and the restaurant has barely been able to keep its kegs full, Manager Everett Marr said.

Nearby Bliss Cafe offers hemp in bowls, as do Joy in Shell Beach and Shine Cafe in Morro Bay. A manager of The Neighborhood Acai and Juice Bar off Foothill Boulevard in SLO said the business received the notice from the county and will stop selling its popular CBD-infused juice.