For those who have incorporated CBD infused lattes into their morning rituals, it may be time to make the switch to hemp products instead. Starting October 2nd, the Department of Health will be cracking down on restaurants in New York City that sell cannabidiol edibles and enforcing fines up to six-hundred dollars. Establishments are also subject to point reductions for selling the product, which could cost a restaurant their shiny A letter grade. 

This new ban on cannabis in food emerged when the FDA announced that it is “unlawful to add CBD to food or drink” back in December. This sparked the development of a plan for dealing with the legal chemical compound sold at restaurants. 

CBD Fines Begin in October – Why the Wait?

While fines will not be enforced until October, inspectors are permitted to embargo any CDB edibles found on a restaurant’s premises as of July 1st (Yup, inspectors can drop in on your restaurant and confiscate any CBD infused products). New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reaffirmed on Twitter that the NYC health code prohibits cannabidiol in food or drink, and, if found, the products will be discarded or returned to their supplier. This multi-month grace period is being given in hopes that restaurants will withdraw their CBD infused food and drink on their own accord. 

The Farm Bill: A Gray Area for CBD 

Although CBD can be found in both marajuana and hemp, it is traditionally derived from the hemp plant. In December of 2018, the Farm Bill legalized hemp but did not specifically legalize free use of CBD. Hemp-derived cannabidiol is legal under the Farm Bill if it is produced and distributed in a way that is regulated by the FDA. However, baking your own brownies with CBD and selling them to customers is not a legal method of distribution according to the FDA. Essentially, CBD is mostly legal under the farm bill, but its legality is unclear under the FDA.

Despite the crackdown, many businesses intend on continuing to sell their CBD products or finding loopholes around the new laws. For instance, the CBD-friendly Brooklyn restaurant, Buds and Beans, will be selling CBD products separately for customers to mix into drinks themselves. It is more or less legal to sell CBD outside of edibles, so doing this is technically okay.

Politicians also view the new bans as a bit of an overreaction. City Council member and Health committee chair, Mark Levine, told Gothamist that he is already working on legislation that will overturn the laws set to begin in October. 

Stay tuned for updates and changes on the status of CBD in the city. It’s safe to assume that the life of this natural compound is not over yet.