Cannabidiol (CBD) and terpene infused beers have risen in popularity and availability in recent years.
Unfortunately for one brewer in California, meeting the growing demand is not an option, at least not for now.
Black Hammer Brewing has produced no less than 8 CBD-infused beers that are very popular among consumers. But the popular brews are currently being pulled off store shelves.
The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau sent a cease and desist order this week to the brewer demanding that they cease production.
Should other CBD/terpene beer producers expect to receive similar federal orders?
According to the federal government the cannabis plant and all of its parts, including CBD and terpenes, are illegal.
Because of that federal distinction, some believed that the cease and desist order sent to Black Hammer Brewing was due to legality concerns involving the CBD they infuse into their products.
However, that is not actually the case. According to SF Chronicle, the order was sent due to a failure to follow a procedural technicality.
The federal bureau requires special approval for any non-standard beer ingredient, which includes CBD.
Dad and Dudes Breweria of Aurora, Colorado followed the process of seeking approval from the federal bureau and had their product approved, so it’s not as if the bureau never approves the ingredient.
It’s likely just a matter of Black Hammer Brewing following the process that is in place in order to get its products back in circulation.
Should alcohol be infused with CBD and/or terpenes?
Alcohol and cannabis have a complicated history. Just as cannabis is currently prohibited at the federal level, so too has alcohol been prohibited in decades past in the United States.
Prohibition did not work with alcohol just as it doesn’t work with cannabis.
In recent years cannabis advocates have used the campaign slogan ‘cannabis is safer than alcohol’ with great success. The slogan gets a lot of traction with voters.
One study found cannabis to be approximately 114 times safer than alcohol. Because of that scientific fact, alcohol has been increasingly demonized in some cannabis circles.
That increased demonization has led many in the cannabis community to believe that alcohol and cannabis should never mix.
But that position flies in the face of one of the most basic principles that cannabis advocacy is built on – that responsible adults should be able to consume substances if it doesn’t harm anyone else.
Cannabis is safer than alcohol, and cannabis does not lead to many of the issues that alcohol does, but that doesn’t mean that cannabis and alcohol can never mix. They can co-exist if done properly.
What does the future hold for cannabis and alcohol?
A rise in cannabis-infused alcohol product production is being paralleled by an influx of members from the alcohol industry entering the cannabis space.
Arguably the most significant entry by an alcohol company into the cannabis space to date is Constellation Brands which purchased a large stake in a Canadian cannabis company this year.
Plans are in place for the company to produce cannabis-infused alcohol products in the future, and that is something that will very likely become more common as time goes by.
Just as some cannabis supporters are crying foul over cannabis-infused alcohol products, so too has there been an outcry from cannabis opponents who do not want to see the two substances mixed.
Alcohol and cannabis can co-exist, both in product form and in business form, but it has to be done in a responsible way.
What that will look like exactly is something that will have to be seen as time goes by.