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Mom-and-pop stores have been making a bundle charging premium prices for cannabidiol, as stressed-out shoppers shell out for snacks, drinks, and creams to treat aches and anxiety. Smaller health-food stores and head shops alike were emboldened late last year, even as bigger chains balked, when Congress passed the Farm Act, removing hemp from a list of illegal substances under US law. “Smaller retailers feel more comfortable taking the product because they don’t have as much visibility,” said Jonathan Eppers, chief executive of Vybes, an LA-based beverage company whose CBD-infused drinks are sold in 3,000 stores at about $8 a pop.
Nevertheless, the FDA in December also handed down a ruling that restricts sales of CBD-laced products — a directive that state regulators have begun using to mount crackdowns.
In January, the California Department of Public Health raided Vybes’ warehouse and ordered it to destroy $200,000 worth of its product, or 90 percent of its inventory, because it contains CBD. Now Vybes has moved its warehouse to a “much safer state,” Eppers said, declining to identify the location.
This year the Ohio Board of Pharmacy cracked down on retailers selling CBD, demanding that they remove products from their shelves.
The New York City health department, meanwhile, began embargoing food products containing CBD in January and said it would fine companies up to $650 for violations starting in July.
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