A well-known chef in Seattle doesn’t have a lot of nice things to say about the state’s decision to ban a popular line of CBD wellness drinks at his downtown cafe.
During an interview with KUOW, he compared health regulators to those who enforced the dance ban in the movie “Footloose.”
Because CBD is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, when the oil is added to liquid, it creates a relaxing effect.
“It’s subtle,” said McGill. “I’m talking about drinking chamomile tea or something.”
McGill told KUOW that the CBD extract he used at Café Hitchcock was sourced from hemp grown by someone he knows in Oregon. And because it’s from out of state, it’s not regulated by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. WSLCB spokesman Brian Smith told KUOW that while CBD falls under the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the agency hasn’t taken any regulatory or enforcement actions.
McGill was told to stop selling his popular CBD lattes in April. He told Seattle Magazine at the time:
Unfortunately, King County Public Health has decided to take a regressive stance on the use of CBD as a food additive. Although cafés in many other Washington counties as well as in Oregon, California, Washington D.C. and NYC are not regulating its use, as it is federally legal, traded across state lines and internationally with no special permitting, is demonstrably not psychoactive and offers tremendous health benefits as well as its signature relaxing effect, we have been instructed to immediately stop serving the extract. I have reached out to discuss this and find out the reasoning behind the decision but as of yet have not heard back from Public Health.”
Joe Graham, who manages the food safety program at the state’s Department of Health, told KUOW that CBD is a no-no, not only because it’s derived from the cannabis plant, but also because it hasn’t been FDA approved. “We rely on the fact that this is a Schedule 1 drug and we rely on the list of federal food additives,” he said, adding:
The potential harms would be dosage…I can’t speak to what the actual safe dose is but that would be a concern. And then also just the source of it, how it was manufactured.
But King County Council member Jeanne Kohl-Welles is on McGill’s side, telling KUOW that her office has been in touch with him, adding:
I do support a new law that would allow for the use of CBD oils in food and drink products if regulated.
Graham said he’s reaching out to other states, like Oregon, to find out how they’re getting around the legality of serving CBD. “Some states are moving toward that and we’re trying to find out what they’re using as a legal basis because right now we haven’t read anything at the federal level that would allow this,” he told KUOW.
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Because the FDA recently approved CBD-based Epidiolex for epilepsy, the federal government is expected to remove CBD from the list of Schedule 1 drugs. According to The Fresh Toast Medical Director Dr. Thomas Green:
I am in the hope that it will either not be scheduled at all (I severely doubt that this will be the case) or will be schedule 3 (the same as Vicodin), schedule 4 (valium) or schedule 5 (cough syrup with codeine). This author certainly does not think CBD has the same abuse potential as Vicodin or valium.