California Bill Legalizes CBD as Food and Drink Supplement

California Bill Legalizes CBD as Food and Drink Supplement

On October 8th, 2021 California took a huge leap forward in formally legalizing CBD, or Cannabinidoil by its full name, to be labeled an official food and drink supplement. Sure, you may have seen CBD drinks hit specialized shelves around the country over the past few years, but their content, claims, and dissemination has long been operating in an FDA ‘grey area’. The passage of California Bill 45 firmly places California in the camp of allowing CBD in food and drink, thus departing from the regulations upheld at the federal level.

What is CBD and what’s all the fuss about?

CBD, or Cannabinidoil, can be derived from either the hemp or marijuana plants. The strong distinction between the two is that the hemp plant grows naturally with little to no active THC, less than .3%.  Both CBD derivatives are legal, but consumers that are intermittently drug tested may prefer hemp derived CBD since it is the purest CBD source, unfettered with much THC. 

THC is the psychoactive component of Cannabinidoil and CBD is the non-psychoactive component, though consumers claim powerful physiological benefits. CBD, as opposed to THC, still provides emotional and physical benefits without psychoactive impairment. That is to say that it will have no mentally impairing qualities to it. 

What are the benefits of CBD?

CBD is purportedly known to reduce instances of stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, and irritability. Though no formal claims about these benefits can be made, the ‘perceived benefits’ of CBD are enough to cause hordes to flock toward the trendy supplement. According to USA Today, CBD “has been credited with near-magical powers. Its proponents claim that it can combat everything from acne to depression to Parkinson’s disease.” The key here is to allow customers to experience their own personal benefits but not to purport that any of them are scientifically substantiated.

Although the positive effects of CBD can not be scientifically substantiated, the lack of negative effects is another attractive reason that led to California legalization. According to the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

Why does everyone want CBD right now?

It’s crucial to understand perceived benefits and the correlating demand for CBD. Although consumption of such products has been steadily gaining popularity for years, Covid-19 expanded the palettes of many Californians to include CBD, Cava, Ashwagandha, and other stress-relieving additives. We foresee the demand for CBD and all the respective products infused with it  to steadily increase over time.

According to Food and Beverage Insider, “Consumers are looking for added health benefits in their beverages, even alcoholic beverages,” while Rhythm CBD Seltzers adds,“To that end, in 2021, I foresee a wider acceptance of CBD in beverages, and you’ll start seeing more CBD seltzers being merchandised alongside the kombucha and other wellness or anti-inflammatory products on the shelf.”

In short, the more stressful life becomes, the more consumers seek out calming and relaxing food and drink. Since we don’t see life getting any calmer in the near term, CBD will continue to explode on the market for some time! 

How does this affect YOU?

The passage of CAAB45, the official name for the California Bill allowing supplemental CBD, marks an ever growing trend that we’re calling “California’s Trendy Tasters”. This subgroup of Californians represent those who are always excited to try trendy new recipes, additives and supplements that all fall under the overarching wellness trend. CBD and its use is firmly rooted in the explosive wellness movement. Growth of the CBD market is going to continue to increase greatly over the next few years, according to Grandview Research.

California’s Trendy Tasters are also proponents for other movements such as higher quality ingredients, flexitarianism or vegetarianism, conscious consumerism, and caring about the environmental impact of how you package to-go orders. We anticipate that these Trendy Tasters will actively seek out CBD beverages and CBD-infused foods at specialty cafes and restaurants. This opens up a huge opportunity for restaurant owners to stock high profit margin goods that include CBD.

Where can I buy CBD beverages?

At present the best way to get your restaurant up to speed on the hot CBD trend is to order pre-made CBD beverages, such as Vybes sparkling beverages, CBD powders, or tinctures to create introductory CBD-infused products. Start with simple CBD additions, like stocking Vybes in your grab-and-go fridge, creating CBD-infused teas or coffees, and offering simple baked goods like CBD-infused cookies, brownies, or our recipe for Baked Apples and Peach Frozen Yogurt. Starting with auxiliary menu options will allow you to dip your toes into the trend to see how it performs. 

With a profit margin of over 60% from distribution to sale at your establishment, CBD beverages can be high grossing products. Equally important, it demonstrates that you are on the forefront of trendy changes in California dining. As the trend grows, CBD food-products like butters, tinctures, oils, and cookables will also gain popularity and demand.

5 Things to know before stocking CBD

Vybes senior VP, Marc Stauenbaur, a veteran at the forefront of the legalization movement and producer of fantastic, high-quality CBD-infused beverages said, “We’ve developed best practices for restaurant owners to get their hands on these products, how to market them to your audience, and how to stay absolutely legal while doing it.” As specialty products become trickier to accurately market, producers are stepping in to help get the ball rolling.

  1. CBD still exists in an FDA gray zone. Though nearly half of all states allow CBD infusion, these states are standing in defiance of the FDA claim that CBD is a drug, thus not a food additive. So, be ready to explain this legality to any inquiring customers. In California, you are legal!
  2. CBD must be properly regulated in your establishment. This means that you will need to follow laws regarding dosage, signage, and even QR codes where customers can see the actual CBD content of an item. Also, CBD cannot be explicitly sold to minors. Have a copy of CAAB45 handy to be sure you’re continuing to follow all regulations.
  3. Understand the benefits of CBD to the wider market. If you, yourself, are not a consumer, make sure you understand the benefits and attractions of the supplement. Having an equally excited and knowledgeable staff is important.
  4. Purchase only high-quality, reliable CBD products. Some clients will ask about the brand of CBD you use. Using a well-known CBD brand will reassure customers of your awareness and commitment to quality CBD products.
  5. Advertise! Making the move to stocking CBD is a big one. You will now be part of one of California’s cutting-edge food trends. As mentioned, these products can bring in big bucks, so advertise them well. If you use a digital menu, create a new page about this movement. 

CBD is more than food, it's an experience

as recommended by Vybes senior rep, “Make CBD an experience”. Consumers view CBD products as methods for releasing anxiety and rebalancing their minds. Understand that when consumers order these products, that is their end goal. You can foster such an experience by cultivating a calming atmosphere  that supports balance and relaxation in your establishment. 


The passage of this bill in California is a huge leap forward. But, it isn’t the only jump that we anticipate seeing in the near term. While the restaurant and food industries adapt at lightning speed to the changes sparked by Covid, more opportunities for specialty offerings will emerge. This is undoubtedly a time of change in the world of food, drinks, and regulations. Follow Cheetah’s blog and share it with your industry peers to stay atop restaurant industry news in the Bay Area and beyond.

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