Since 2015, Los Angeles restaurants and bars began adding cannabidiol, or CBD, to cocktail menus. For an extra fee or elevated price, bars offer the non-psychoactive cannabis extract as a supplement to any drink. This trend expanded greatly after January 1, 2018, when California legalized the recreational use of cannabis. But adding CBD to any cocktail at a public establishment is now illegal, thanks to Governor Jerry Brown signing Assembly Bill 2914 in late September.
AB 2914’s official stance prohibits bars and liquor stores from selling alcohol drinks with cannabis. The bill’s language is specific to any LA bar making CBD cocktails:
“This bill would prohibit an alcoholic beverage licensee from, at its licensed premises, selling, offering, or providing cannabis or cannabis products, including an alcoholic beverage that contains cannabis or cannabis products, and would provide that no alcoholic beverage shall be manufactured, sold, or offered for sale if it contains tetrahydrocannabinol or cannabinoids, regardless of source.”
AB 2914 approval is right in line with the state’s bureaucrats. In July, the California Department of Public Health issued a statement instructing businesses to not serve CBD until the federal Food and Drug Administration approved it to be safe. That left a Costa Mesa cafe scrambling to figure out the rules. Not only were all CBD products confiscated at Coffee Dose, but the owners were told to stop including cannabis ingredients in drinks, or pay a fine.
It’s a confusing time to be experimenting with adding CBD to cocktails, and enforcement presents another challenge. But the risk of losing a liquor or beer and wine license might be enough of a deterrent.