CBD infused products are all the rage in some circles, but the city wants them off the menu. The Health Department says restaurants and bars can no longer sell the items because, while legal, the hemp and marijuana ingredient is not FDA approved. A citywide embargo is now underway, which caught some eateries by surprise.
“What's frustrating for us is that the Department of Health didn't really explain to us what is going on,” said C.J. Holm, the owner of Fat Car Kitchen.
DOH inspectors started cracking down on businesses last month. The Fat Cat Kitchen was one of 5 that were hit with an embargo. A health inspector recently placed the restaurant’s CBD goods in a plastic bag and told the owner to stop selling them.
“It's been a really frustrating experience for us,” Holm explained to us. “It has been a really good selling product for us and it's so beneficial. People get a lot out of it and it's sad that I’m not able to sell it and it's sad that other businesses are going to be going through the same thing I'm going through right now.”
While CBD comes from marijuana and hemp plants, it won't get you high. It's touted as a remedy for a number of ailments, including anxiety, but experts say the evidence isn't there. Yasmin Hurds is the Director of the Addiction Institute at the Ichan School of Medicine Mount Sinai. She said, “There's not that much research behind CBD for most disorders that it is proposed to alleviate.”
In a statement, the DOH said, “Restaurants in New York City are not permitted to add anything to food or drink that is not approved as safe to eat. The Health Department takes seriously its responsibility to protect New Yorkers’ health. Until cannabidiol (CBD) is deemed safe as a food additive, the Department is ordering restaurants not to offer products containing CBD.”
It's relatively safe, but I think that the restaurants and the different companies that are promoting CBD in their beverages and food, they need to actually prove that their product is actually doing what they say,” said Hurds.
Nevertheless, business owners are standing behind their products and some are talking about joining forces to fight the health department's decision.