Yelp Reservations hosted a lunchtime panel on March 18 for a timely discussion about the recreational use of cannabis in Los Angeles. The LA restaurant community attended to learn how State Bill 94 applies to restaurants and bars. Out of caution, most local eateries have steered clear of adding any type of cannabis to their menus.
Eater previously covered that it is perfectly legal to add CBD to any food or drinks, but only from sources that comply with California and federal law. The panel also spoke about the legalities of serving THC-infused dishes or drinks.
The Yelp panel included chef Holden Jagger, founder of Altered Plates, along with Yannick Crespo, founder of Pot d’Huile infused olive oil. Attorney Benson Lau, who specializes in cannabis law, offered legal advice while Rachel Burkons of The Clever Root moderated.
There are already a number of restaurants and bars that serve CBD foods and drinks in Los Angeles, and they’ve carefully been watching the law to make sure they don’t overstep. But the law can be a bit tricky, as federal and state laws can conflict. THC, or psychoactive cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug, and is illegal for anyone in California to sell without a permit.
Jagger made some recommendations for restaurants that want to serve THC-infused foods. They should apply for a state and local permit, and opt to serve the meals in a private setting. Each panelist spoke about issues with federal banks, which will not work with businesses associated with cannabis.
The panel suggested using an overseas bank, or a state-chartered banking institution like a credit union. These organizations do not protect illegal activity, but help to conduct business and limit interference from the federal government. Lau also recommends using organizations that work as a cannabis payment processor. While Lau doesn’t recommend any particular company, there is PayQwick, which allows customers to utilize card payments to make day-to-day business run smoothly.
According to Lau, the CBD must be from federally-approved retailers, and must clearly state that their CBD is derived from industrial hemp, not actual cannabis. Lau also suggested caution when marketing anything related to CBD or THC, and knowing where the CBD comes from. Even though there are some federally approved outlets, it is still unknown whether the Feds are fine with CBD.
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SOURCE: (Eater LA)