Html”>beers brewed with cannabis-derived terpenes. This month, Invasive Species Brewing in Fort Lauderdale and Devour Brewing in Boynton Beach both received cease and desist letters from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau stating that each of these beers must individually receive federal approval before it can be legally sold to the public.
Several South Florida breweries began to experiment with adding cannabis terpenes to their beers last year. Terpenes are flavor molecules that are responsible for some of the pungent aroma and flavor of weed, but have absolutely no psychoactive effect on their own. Smith’s company sources terpenes from cannabis legally grown in Colorado to make oils that are then used by local breweries like Devour and Invasive Species to create their new beers.
These new terpene-flavored beers do not provide any more of a high than any other beer with a similar alcohol content, but that hasn’t stopped the federal government from demanding that the breweries cease production. Html”>terpene oils are not necessarily illegal, the agency does require any products containing these oils to be individually submitted for approval and tested to ensure they do not contain any psychoactive compounds. Hogue noted that some recipes may also need independent approvals from both the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration, a truly daunting task for an independent company.
Devour Brewing had planned a beer party for this week’s 4/20 holiday, but officials have said that they may cancel now that their new beer has been prohibited. Phil Gillis, head brewer at Invasive Species, said that his company may go ahead with their 4/20 party regardless of the feds’ letter.
Federal prohibition laws have caused a number of similar issues for companies wishing to use cannabis extracts in their products, even if said extracts are completely non-psychoactive. Many U.S. states are struggling to clarify laws regarding the use of CBD, which has a wide number of proven medical uses.
As laws regarding cannabis and cannabis extracts slowly begin to relax, more companies are beginning to research the intersection of alcohol and cannabis.