Oregon Liquor Control Commission Bans CBD-Infused Alcohol

Cannabidiol (CBD) has found its way into a wide variety of products in recent years such as tinctures, topical products, edibles, and even alcohol, though guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prompted some states to put restrictions into place.

Washington banned CBD as a food additive during the summer of 2019, joining other states such as New York, Maine, Ohio, and North Carolina who have also implemented restrictions on edible CBD products.

On Friday, December 20, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) announced a new policy banning the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages that contain CBD, clarifying Oregon’s reliance on federal law and affirming alcohol distribution practices in the state.

The new rules apply to alcohol manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and liquor store retail agents in the state, taking effect on January 1, 2020.

Licensees who have received non-compliant alcoholic beverages will have until December 31, 2019, to sell or remove them from their inventory.

“It has been as challenging for the OLCC as it has been for our licensees to create some certainty over the status of CBD in the alcoholic beverage marketplace,” said OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks. “Since the OLCC regulates alcohol and marijuana it’s incumbent on our regulatory agency to help our alcohol licensees comply with standards for hemp-derived CBD regulations as they currently exist.”

The new policy outlines an exception provided by Oregon law for licensees to allow the commerce of compliant non-alcoholic beverages that contain hemp-derived CBD if they pass the same pesticide, solvent, and potency tests that are required by the state for adult-use and medical cannabis.

Executive Director Marks wrote a letter to Oregon’s alcohol licensees detailing the guidance and compliance actions that the OLCC is taking.

The letter points out concerns raised by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about CBD safety and investigations by news outlets that have found CBD products for sale that don’t contain any CBD or are manufactured with harmful ingredients.

The OLCC plans to take additional action to restrict the combining of alcohol and CBD in 2020 by drafting new regulations that address the combination of alcohol and CBD products for onsite consumption at licensed liquor establishments.

To help clarify the new policy, the OLCC has released CBD + Alcohol fact sheets for wholesalers and manufacturers that detail compliance requirements for specific license types.

Additional resources that explain the policy are also available for consumers.

There is a separate fact sheet as well that outlines testing requirements for all hemp items and explains the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s requirement of a Certificate of Analysis for hemp products intended for human consumption.

If OLCC inspectors discover marijuana-derived CBD or any other marijuana product at an establishment with an alcohol license, the licensee or liquor store retail agent could be fined or face a license suspension.

If alcoholic beverages containing CBD are found at licensed premises, the OLCC may require the licensee or agent to cease manufacturing, distribution, sale, or serving of the product as well as recall the product and impose a fine or other sanction.

If there is no Certificate of Analysis for the products, the OLCC may refer the case to ODA for further action.