How Should OCS Operators Respond To The CBD Trend? Judiciously.

Cannabidiol (CBD) products hit the news countless times in 2019. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the growing of industrial hemp on a federal level, making CBD an enticing retail opportunity, but state laws and local laws vary, and The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to regulate these products. 

By 2025, the total U.S. CBD market could reach $24.4 billion, CBD and cannabis consumer insights firm Brightfield Group estimated in a 2019 report. As consumers buy into the market, government officials have taken steps toward determining how the retail sale of CBD products aligns with existing and evolving regulations and laws. As of the time of this writing, H.R.5587, a bipartisan bill regarding CBD regulation, is on its way through Congress.

Consumers’ interest and the ever-shifting legal issues surrounding these products raise important questions for office coffee service (OCS) and pantry operators. We asked manufacturers and distributors of CBD products to describe the current state of CBD in retail and what operators should be aware of as they explore their options. 

Legal issues surround CBD sales

Operators interested in selling CBD products need to be aware of the applicable laws, which are under review in several jurisdictions. While some states are relatively open to CBD sales, others have banned or limited them.

Most prominently, the FDA has taken an interest in clarifying its regulations. The agency held a public hearing in May 2019 to gather information about aspects of the CBD industry ranging from safety and manufacturing to marketing and sales, and it has issued a series of communications regarding the industry. As of the time of this writing, the FDA also has asked for an additional $5 million in its FY2021 budget request to support CBD-related regulation measures, including developing policy, reviewing products and research.

“FDA must support oversight of increasing numbers of marketed FDA-regulated products containing cannabis-derived substances that may put the public at risk,” the budget reads.

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