Oregon Liquor Control Commission Says Alcoholic Drinks Can’t Contain Cannabis

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon is renowned for its craft beer and increasingly for its high-grade marijuana, but the state is keeping the two apart — for now.

In a new ruling, the Oregon Liquor Control
Commission, which regulates both alcoholic products and recreational
marijuana, says beer and other alcoholic drinks as of Jan. 1 may not
contain either THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, or CBD, the
non-psychoactive part that is said to relieve stress and pain.

Mark
Pettinger, spokesman for the agency, cited concerns raised by the U.S.
Food and Drug of potential liver damage from CBD, also known as
cannabidiol.

“We’ve wanted to address the issue of CBD getting
into alcohol and because there are a lot of unknown unknowns about the
effect of taking CBDs,” Pettinger said Friday. “There’s very little
scientific evidence. People are using them for wellness, but how they
interact with other substances, not a lot is known.”

One prominent
CBD-infused beer, Two Flowers IPA, was popular in The EastBurn, a
Portland pub, according to Michael Fritz, one of the owners.

“We were the first bar to put it on tap,” Fritz said. “It was a nice IPA.”

The
website of the brewery that made the beer, Coalition Brewing of
Portland, said the CBD’s “bitter grassiness augments the hop bitterness,
while the citrusy terpenes in the CBD mirror the aromatics and hop
flavors.”

For his part, Fritz said he didn’t notice any additional effect from the beer besides the alcohol.

“If you have three beers, you’re going to feel like you had three beers,” Fritz said. “You’re going to feel relaxed.”

Coalition Brewing recently went out of business, Fritz said, adding that his own customers drained the last of the CBD-infused beer 10 days ago.

“It was a really good seller for us,” Fritz said.

Pettinger said he didn’t know of any other Oregon brewery that makes CBD-infused beer.

He said that until federal agencies establish regulations surrounding CBD, that his agency felt it needed to step in and impose the ban. The Oregon agency will next work on banning a bar from mixing a non-alcoholic CBD beverage on the premises with an alcoholic beverage to create a CBD cocktail.

Oregon has been at the forefront in
efforts to legalize marijuana. It was the first state to decriminalize
personal possession, in 1973; legalized medical marijuana in 1998 and
recreational use in 2014. But Oregon is in a bind because federal
regulations surrounding CBD, which is derived from hemp, have not caught
up with the legalization of hemp on the national level.

Oregon’s
two senators, Democrats Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, worked with Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, to legalize
industrial hemp in 2018.

Merkley told reporters Thursday he is
seeking an additional $2 million in the nation’s spending bill to assist
the FDA in developing regulations for CBD oil.

Pettinger noted
that the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, which
approves the formula for any kind of alcoholic beverage, has not
approved the use of CBD in any drinks.

The TTB last year ordered
Black Hammer Brewing of San Francisco to stop producing beer containing
CBD, including one called Toke Back Mountain.

Long Trail Brewing,
in Vermont, was told by the federal agency to stop producing its
CBD-infused beer, called Medicator, last year.

“We’re kind of
treating it that we’ll kind of have to lay low and not produce it for a
while,” brewery spokesman Drew Vetere told the Burlington Free Press.

By Andrew Selsky

The post Oregon Liquor Control Commission Says Alcoholic Drinks Can’t Contain Cannabis appeared first on High Times.

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