In early February 2019, New York City's Department of Health (DOH) announced that city bars and eating establishments would have to cease all sales of foods and drinks containing cannabidiol, more commonly known as "CBD", a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. 

In response, vendors throughout New York City were forced to remove what are often lucrative and highly popular CBD offerings from their menus. Troubled by the DOH's "aggressive enforcement" action, the NYC Hospitality Alliance — an industry association that promotes investment and economic opportunities for hospitality establishments around the city — issued a polemic against the ban, saying DOH's approach of issuing fines first and providing guidance after the fact was misguided and detrimental to hospitality businesses. 

Some days later, DOH unexpectedly reversed its stance on the ban, saying it would not embargo products or issue violations for CBD-containing foods and beverages until later in 2019. Additionally, DOH withdrew the violations it had issued while the ban was still in effect. 

Given the still-evolving nature of CBD regulation, Richard Frazer, co-head of Pryor Cashman's Restaurant, Food + Beverage Group and a member of the firm's Cannabis practice, spoke with Skift Table about how he advises clients that are contemplating including CBD offerings at their food and beverage establishments. 

"Gray is an apt description. Wild West is another apt description," Frazer said. "The FDA is still determining the safety of CBD as a food or beverage additive, and there is no current legal distinction between alcoholic or non-alcoholic additives. But, if I were advising a restaurant or beverage company, the answer is: Don't do it at the moment." 

Click here to read the full article in Skift Table. 

More About Frazer's Practice 

Richard Frazer's "soup to nuts" counsel reflects his deep understanding of the business issues restaurant owners, investors, manufacturers and distributors face. Representing celebrity chefs, independent restaurants, specialty food stores, local chains and some of the nation's largest franchisees, Frazer advises on business formation, startup and expansion financing, licensing and operational issues, among many others. 

Learn more about his work and experience here.

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