Can Beer Distributors Sell Medical Marijuana Products?

Can Beer Distributors Sell Medical Marijuana Products?

By Frank C. Sluzis, Esq.

The major complaint I hear from the malt and brewed beverage distributor licensees is the downward trend in sales due to competition from major grocery store chains, such as Giant and Wegman’s, and convenience store chains, such as Sheetz and Rutter’s. With the onset of these type of stores obtaining liquor licenses beer sales by distributors have declined.

Recently more and more distributors have contacted me to ascertain whether their establishments can sell CBD products. What is CBD? CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, a cannabis compound purported to have medical benefits without producing a mind-altering effect. Cannabidiol is different from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound found in the marijuana plant. THC when ingested produces a mind altering ‘high.’

CBD which is derived from the hemp plant, which is a close relative to the marijuana plant, is legal throughout the entire United States. These products are sold as ointments and oils which are applied topically, as well as tinctures which are concentrated liquid extracts that are water soluble and dissolved in drinks. Distributors hope that by offering CDB products for sale more prospective consumers will visit their premises and perhaps increase sales of malt and brewed beverages.

Now back to the original question – can beer distributors engage in the sale of CBD products? The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has issued an advisory notice (Advisory Notice No. 9) which lists the items that can be sold by distributors, at the time of this posting CBDs are not on the list. In order to offer for sale any item not listed on the advisory notice, a distributor must request permission to do so by PLCB.

As CBD products become more and more popular and mainstream, it would reason that if enough distributors are interested in offering these products for sale in their establishments, PLCB would grant permission to do so.

To schedule a consult with a liquor law attorney call 717 657 7770.

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