SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Chronical reported on Wednesday that the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has ordered a brewery to stop producing a beer containing cannabidiol (CBD) while approval for permission is pending.
Black Hammer Brewing was ordered by authorities to stop production on their line of cannabis beers, one of which is aptly named Toke Back Mountain. Toke Back Mountain was created as a holiday specialty beer, debuting on April 20 of last year. Another popular IPA beer called Hippie Hill will also end production.
The line of 8 specialty beers are infused with cannabidiol and contain no THC – the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that causes the high.
The order to cease production of the CBD beer was due to the brewery failing to seek proper approval from the bureau. The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has additional approval procedures and permits required for any beer ingredients that are not considered standard; such as rosewater, hemp, or terpenes.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau will let the brewery continue selling any CBD beer already brewed and ready for sale. The owner and CEO of Black Hammer Brewing, Jim Furman, said that the brewery will apply for the proper approval. However, he is disappointed that they won't be able to continue brewing in the meantime – noting that the CBD line is quite popular with guests.
Beer Industry Executives Invest in Pot Pie
Cannabis-infused beer is becoming popular as marijuana becomes legal in more communities, and several beer executives are investing in the future. Polls show that more than 61 percent of the Americans support legalizing marijuana and experts say that the industry could be worth nearly $50 billion in less than 10 years.
The Corona beer distributor, Constellation Brands, invested in a Canadian medical marijuana company to make cannabis-infused beer. The Canopy Growth Corporation already produces medical marijuana in Canada – which plans to legalize the drug this summer. Constellation Brands invested at least $191 million into the partnership.
Keith Villa, who created Blue Moon Belgian Wheat and is a 32-year veteran of MillerCoors, is also developing several CBD beers that mimic the euphoric effects of alcohol, without a hangover. Villa plans to sell the cannabidiol beer in Colorado, where marijuana is legal, this fall.
Furman worries that the federal classification of hemp as a controlled substance will cause further issues in the future and says that the federal government reclassifying hemp as an agricultural product would eliminate the legal issue and help to ease his concerns.
Black Hammer Brewing also makes a pale ale called Toke Back to the Future which contains 5 mg of cannabidiol. The brewery began selling the last of the CBD pale ale at 4:20 pm Thursday evening and plans to sell the rest of the CBD beer each Tuesday until it is sold out.
A different beer from the CBD line will be sold each week, and Furman plans to begin brewing the CBD beer again as soon as the beer is approved. He says that the featured CBD beer will be posted each week on Instagram until it is sold.
Long Trail Brewing, made in Vermont, was also told to end production on their CBD beer Medicator last month by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
Owner of the brewing company, Joe Pimental, said that he doesn't foresee obtaining government approval for the popular specialty beer anytime soon and must also begin the approval process for government permission to use non-standard ingredients like coriander.
Furman says that Black Hammer Brewing has already begun the approval process and is eager to begin production again.