In March 2019, the Maryland Department of Health’s (MDH) Office of Food Protection notified all local health departments that it is the position of the MDH that the addition of cannabidiol (CBD) into foods or beverages is not allowed.
On December 20, 2018, the Federal 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act was signed into law removing hemp from the list of controlled substances. However, only very specific parts of the hemp plant can be added to food without approval because those parts do not contain cannabinoids. Specifically, hulled hemp seeds, hemp seed protein and hemp seed oil are on the “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS) list. Food items labeled as having “hulled hemp seed,” “hemp seed protein” or “hemp seed oil” are not CBD and allowed. CBD, whether derived from hemp or any other source, has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a food additive. FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis Derived Products.
MDH is aware of the interest of retail food service facilities adding CBD to foods and beverages such as coffee (whole bean and ground), kombucha, ice cream, cookies and smoothies. However, CBD has not been approved as a food additive by the FDA. Therefore, food items that have been infused with CBD should be considered adulterated and not approved to be used, sold or served.
Additionally, under the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, foods containing CBD cannot legally be sold through interstate commerce. Pre-packaged, non-potentially hazardous foods and beverages that are obtained from a company outside of the State of Maryland containing CBD should not be offered for sale in Maryland. All food and beverage products sold at a retail establishment, whether licensed as a food service facility or not, must come from an approved source, not be adulterated, misbranded or contaminated with microorganisms. Local health departments should issue an Order of Abatement to any establishment that is manufacturing, selling, offering for sale or receiving in commerce any food that is adulterated (Health General §21-256).