Never the twain shall meet? – alcoholic beverages and cannabis topic of new law

A new law in California prohibits the sale or manufacture of beverages that mix cannabis (aka marijuana, weed, pot, etc.) and “cannabis products” with alcohol.  Assembly Bill No. 2914 was signed into law by Gov. Brown on Sept. 27, 2018.  It can be found in Sections 25621.5 and 26070.2 of the Business and Professions Code.  This link has the actual text of the law.  The law prohibits mixing even cannabis products that do not include the narcotic tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”).  In fact, some bars and ‘mixologists’ had begun selling drinks that mix cannabidiol (“CBD”), a largely non-narcotic cannabis product, in alcoholic beverages.  Additionally, a number of craft beer brewers have been developing products that mix the two.

However, there is an important distinction in the law between industrial hemp and cannabis.  The new law prohibits only the mixing of cannabis Nevertheless, even before the new law was signed, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) issued a policy memo declaring that it was not legal, in their view, to mix industrial hemp product with alcoholic beverages.  A summary of that memo can be found at this link.  It remains to be seen whether that distinction will be something explored by those seeking a way to connect the nascent cannabis industry with the alcoholic beverage industry.

Also, even before this new law, cannabis businesses and alcohol purveyors were required to obtain to obtain separate licenses, and neither such business is licensed to sell the other.

See the following link for for a lengthier discussion of the new law.

About William Adams

Attorney at Norton, Moore, & Adams, LLP.
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