Here’s What NYC Businesses Need to Know About the CBD Food Ban

New York City CBD Food and Drink Ban

On July 1st, 2019, months after the NYC Department of Health announced its prohibition on cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, in foods and beverages, the ban officially kicked in, embargoing CBD-infused foods and beverages to be returned to the supplier or discarded.

Out of over 25,000 restaurants in New York City, chances are, this CBD-infused foods ban only impacts a small percentage of them.

That being said, with CBD shops popping up all over the Big Apple, and hundreds of other establishments selling CBD throughout the city, many business owners and purchasing managers are wondering where things are headed.

NYC’s CBD Prohibition

In December 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a statement clarifying its position on cannabis-derived products. In this statement, the FDA made clear that it is illegal to add CBD to foods or drinks for interstate commerce until further notice.

As a result, the NYC Health Code also prohibited adding CBD to food or drink, including in packaged food products.

As of July 1st, 2019, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is embargoing food and beverage products that contain CBD. These CBD products will then have to be returned to the supplier or discarded.

Photo Credit – Fat Cat Kitchen via Instagram

While some CBD-related business owners don’t seem worried, others aren’t so sure of what’s coming. George Tenedios, founder and CEO of healthy eatery chain Fresh&Co, told the New York Post that he does not agree with the ban, but still wants to “be in compliance with the DOH.” Fresh&Co has been offering CBD-infused options for quite some time now.

The good thing for Fresh&Co, as well as any other NYC-based businesses selling CBD-infused foods and drinks, is that the city won’t begin issuing violations or fines just yet.

Beware of Violations!
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While the crackdown on CBD foods and drinks already started in NYC following the initial announcement, the city slowed down its enforcement of the new rules to give business owners a fair shot at clearing their shelves and wrapping their heads around the new ban.

Thankfully for NYC businesses, the city won’t begin issuing violations to food service establishments and retailers for offering food or drink containing CBD until October 1st, 2019.

Violations for retailers may come alongside fines, and for food service establishments, violation points may knock the restaurant’s sanitary inspection letter grade. These fines can range from as low as $200 to as high as $650.


Steven Phan, owner of two Manhattan-based CBD stores has one way around it, for the time being. “Now I wait until I’m nearly out of stock to buy more product,” Phan told The Post. “I don’t want to be sitting on hundreds of gummy bears that I can’t sell.”

That should keep Phan’s Come Back Daily CBD stores safe for now, but violations are just around the corner. In the meantime, be sure to subscribe to CBD industry updates here so you never miss an important development.

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