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NYC Health Department Bans CBD in Food and Drinks
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7 Feb 2019 10:54 AM EST

-by Drew Kolar, Editor; Image: An example of CBD oil and other products (Image Source: Jeoy Pena via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0)

New York City’s Department of Health has announced that they are cracking down on bars, restaurants and cafes that have been adding CBD—short for cannabidiol—to food and drinks.

CBD comes from the cannabis plant and is believed by many to deliver the calming properties of marijuana without the THC high.

Already, the city’s health department has stopped five restaurants from the trendy practice, Eater New York reports. The crackdown began last month, with the DOH noting that CBD hasn’t been approved as a safe food product. As recently as Monday, it was reported that Gramercy Park restaurant Fat Cat Kitchen was forced to stop selling CBD-laced treats, affecting a large part of the business.

 “The Health Department takes seriously its responsibility to protect New Yorkers’ health,” a spokesperson told CNBC. “Until cannabidiol (CBD) is deemed safe as a food additive, the Department is ordering restaurants not to offer products containing CBD.”

The DOH will now be “alerting” restaurants about the ban and also noted in a statement that "restaurants in New York City are not permitted to add anything to food or drink that is not approved as safe to eat ... Until cannabidiol (CBD) is deemed safe as a food additive, the Department is ordering restaurants not to offer products containing CBD.”

Their statement falls in line with the Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines, as not much is scientifically proven about the chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. CBD is technically considered a controlled substance when taken from the marijuana variation of cannabis plant, as marijuana contains THC, but it is legal if it comes from hemp. CBD from hemp was initially considered a controlled substance the Trump administration passed the 2018 Farm Bill and reclassified hemp as an agricultural product. Still, the FDA says it is illegal to sell CBD in dietary supplements or in food through interstate commerce.

Many consumers believe that the supplement is beneficial to wellness and helps with issues like anxiety, pain, cancer, diabetes, and sleep issues. The city’s ban on the trend, which has grown significantly in the last year, threatens a growing industry. Before the DOH’s announcement, consumers could visit restaurants throughout the boroughs for CBD-laced snacks and beverages.

The city joins Ohio, Maine and California in regulating CBD food products. CBD treats, however, are still available online, and oils and other forms of the supplement seem to still be fine to purchase in establishments that do not fall under the health department’s jurisdiction.

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