How soon could fans be having Ben & Jerry’s CBD ice cream inside their freezers?
Ben & Jerry’s made ice cream lovers excited when it announced in May its plan of launching a brand infused with the hottest craze in food today: cannabidiol (CBD). The ice cream maker said that bringing CBD ice cream into the freezers of their loyal fans is very much in line with their tradition of bringing into the market the best ice cream possible. After all, the brand had long been known for flavors like Half Baked & Magic Brownies.
The company said it is committed to making CBD ice cream a reality. It has in fact already gone as far as envisioning of making the ice cream from sustainably-sourced CBD from Vermont.
Ben & Jerry’s seems to have everything planned out if only CBD-infused food were legal.
CBD ice cream pending FDA’s approval
The federal government’s move to make hemp legal nationwide had resulted in confusion when it comes to the legality of CBD. Before the 2018 Farm Bill, the legality of marijuana depends on state laws. After the passage of the bill, federal agencies gained rights to regulate CBD nationwide.
The complications in the laws were particularly pronounced when the Food and Drug Administration started conducting raids of establishments and businesses selling CBD-infused food and beverage even across states where the products were legal. This was because the FDA prohibits infusing CBD, whether it is derived from hemp and most especially when it derived from marijuana, into food and drinks.
On May 31, the FDA conducted its first public hearing to discuss the issues with stakeholders. Ben & Jerry’s was one among the many attendants and had, in fact, submitted its recommendations. The FDA’s decision on the matter, however, remains unclear.
So, only until the FDA clarifies its regulations on CBD-infused food could Ben & Jerry’s pursue its plan of launching the much-anticipated CBD ice cream.
Aside from FDA’s confusing regulations, Ben & Jerry’s also has to make sure that it will also be acting within the marijuana laws being implemented in Vermont where the company is headquartered. Both medical and recreational marijuana is legal in the state. However, Vermont laws do not allow for sales of cannabis. A bill that would allow commercial marijuana sales is still pending House approval.
Everyone wants a piece of the CBD market
Ben & Jerry’s decided to look into the possibility of entering the CBD market after a survey of as many as 350 chefs found that CBD infused drinks and CBD-infused food is the No. 1 and the No. 2 culinary trends for 2019. Indeed, some big names from the food and retail industry have also expressed their interests in launching their respective CBD-infused brands.
Mondelez said early in May that it is readying to getting into the market as soon as it is entirely legal. Mondelez is the maker of Oreo, Chips Ahoy, Cadbury Chocolate, Nila Wafers, and Nutter Butter cookies.
In April, Carl’s Jr tested out a CBD burger in its Colorado store for the 420 Celebration. The chain sold the Rocky Mountain High: Cheeseburger Delight Burger with CBD sauce.
Carl’s Jr plans to use the test to determine whether the Colorado market is ready for the CBD burger. Both recreational and medical marijuana is legal in states. Commercials sales are also allowed. As of the first quarter of 2019, Colorado cannabis sales have already totaled about $387 million. If FDA were only to seamlessly allow CBD to be infused in food and drinks, Ben & Jerry’s could participate in the U.S. CBD market which was projected to be worth $20 billion by 2024. At the same time, Ben & Jerry’s could also gain access to another emerging market sector, the marijuana edibles, which on its own is projected to be worth $4 billion in the next five years.