When California legalized cannabis for adult-use in 2018, many people looking to capitalize on the California Green Rush began to think about the possibility of infusing alcoholic beverages with cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD. This dangerous yet conceivably lucrative idea piqued the interest of many, some including large spirit, beer, and wine producers, as well as major cannabis investors. Unfortunately for these entities, California passed AB 2914 which prohibits the sales of cannabis or cannabis infused products by alcoholic beverage licensees, and the sale of alcohol by cannabis licensees. Further, the bill prohibits the manufacturing of cannabis infused alcohol with any cannabinoid, even CBD which has been found to have no psychoactive effects. With the passing of this bill many looking to capitalize on cannabis infused alcoholic beverages were left high and dry, but one company was determined to make this idea a reality, or at least partial reality.
AB 2914 put a damper on those looking to break into what could’ve been a multi-million-dollar industry and has left some of these companies wondering what they could do to play their hand in the cannabis industry. One company, Lagunitas Brewing Company, has taken an alternative approach to the idea and partnered with a cannabis manufacturing company, AbsoluteXtracts, to produce an IPA beer inspired cannabis infused sparkling beverage containing zero alcohol called HiFi Hops. HiFi Hops uses hops, a therapeutically beneficial ingredient used in brewing to produce bitterness, flavor, and aroma, as well as 10mg of THC in one product or 5mg THC and 5mg CBD in their other product. This ingenious take on cannabis infused alcoholic beverages offers a new opportunity for those who are looking to make cannabis infused non-alcoholic beverages that are similar to the original alcoholic beverage. While this may seem like an easy feat, those looking to break into this market will have to go through all of the legal procedures to obtain a manufacturing license and produce a product that complies with all state testing and labeling requirements. Interested parties are advised to seek professional assistance upon pursuing a project of this complexity.