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New York City, Ohio, and Maine Crackdown on Food Products with CBD

  • City and state officials in New York, Ohio, and Maine have placed embargoes on food products containing cannabidiol (CBD).  The embargoes, which appear to have all begun in January, require restaurants and retailers to remove all CBD-containing food products from their shelves and prohibit their sale.  In all three jurisdictions, however, restaurants and retailers were allowed to keep the embargoed items.

  • New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH) said in a statement that eateries within its jurisdiction were not “permitted to add anything to food or drink that is not approved as safe to eat. […] The Health Department takes seriously its responsibility to protect New Yorkers’ health. Until cannabidiol (CBD) is deemed safe as a food additive, the Department is ordering restaurants not to offer products containing CBD.” DOH is following FDA’s position on the use of cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds in food and dietary supplements. In sum, per FDA, it is illegal to sell a food or dietary supplement that contains added CBD in interstate commerce. Further information about FDA’s position can be found here.

  • In Ohio, officials hold that the embargo is an enforcement of the state law establishing Ohio’s medical marijuana program, which strictly prohibits CBD sales outside of the state’s 56 licensed dispensaries. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy reminded retailers of this restriction in an advisory issued in the fall of 2018.

  • Similarly, in Maine, the state has ordered all stores that sell edible CBD products to remove them from their shelves. Such a move has caused much confusion among retailers and consumers, as the products have reportedly been sold across the state for over two years. In response, State Representative Craig Hickman introduced a bill to clarify that the production and sale of CBD in food products would be allowed under Maine law.

  • With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, public interest in CBD and related products continues to grow. Indeed, as previously reported on this blog, several senators are now asking FDA to update “outdated” federal regulation governing the use of certain hemp-derived ingredients in food, beverages, and dietary supplements. We will continue to monitor any updates related to this broad issue.

© 2019 Keller and Heckman LLP


About this Author

Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...