Oregon bans cannabis-infused drinks

Oregon authorities have slapped a state-wide ban on the sale of drinks containing marijuana.

Salem lawmakers will be introducing a new ruling from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) on January 1 to declare that beer and other alcohol beverages cannot contain any cannabis derivatives.

The agency has said it has taken the move in response to recent concerns highlighted by the US Food and Drug Administration that cannabidiol could potentially cause liver damage.

A spokesman for the OLCC – Mark Pettinger – said the ruling was a reflection of the unknown effects of how certain chemicals within the cannabis plant react with chemicals in beer.

“We’ve wanted to address the issue of CBD getting into alcohol and because there are a lot of unknown unknowns about the effect of taking CBDs,” he said.

“There’s very little scientific evidence. People are using them for wellness, but how they interact with other substances, not a lot is known.”

Oregon has long been famous for its world-class craft ales, and has recently been praised for the standard of its cultivated cannabis. The state legalised medical cannabis as far back as 1998, and then recreational marijuana in 2014.

Democrats Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley – Oregon’s two senators – worked with Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, to legalise industrial hemp in 2018.

Last week, Merkley said he was looking to secure an extra $2 million in the nation’s spending bill to help develop CBD regulations for the FDA. It is hoped the funding will be able to unpick some of the confusion behind the way hemp and cannabis are classified when used in consumable goods.