Legal Criteria for Selling Alcoholic Beverages as Cannabis Products

When can an alcoholic beverage be sold as a cannabis product?: Alcohol and marijuana are both some of the most common recreational substances consumed by the general populace. As marijuana consumption is becoming legal in most states, it was only a matter of time before people started combining these two. Even though both of these are decriminalized, their use should still be monitored.

Cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages are getting more and more popular among the locals. Mocktails and wines infused with THC are some of the more common ones. As fun as intoxication can be, it has to be done under the law. The legalities of selling and manufacturing alcoholic and cannabis products can be tedious. That’s where we come in. By the end of this article, you will have a better overview of the matter.

Understanding Cannabis Regulations

Cannabis Regulations

Unsurprisingly, cannabis must be cultivated, produced, distributed, and consumed according to certain regulations. Only recently has the substance become decriminalized in certain states. So it’s only natural that it has to follow some restrictions.

Overview of Licensing Requirments and Restrictions

Obtaining a license is essential for any business, and even more so when it comes to a heavily regulated industry like cannabis. Some of the most basic legal requirements include:

  • Forming an LLC with the state to keep your assets safe and stay out of debt.
  • Obtain a general business license that can be renewed every year.
  • File a DBA (Doing Business As) so that you can be more flexible about what you can call your business.
  • Obtain a tax ID number or employer identification number (EIN). This is how the IRS will identify your business for taxation purposes.
  • A sales tax permit is required if you want to collect local and state sales tax.
  • Permits pertaining to zoning, land, and signage.

The requirements for a general business license for cannabis vary from state to state. Some municipalities might be more lax than others. Generally, to be granted a license by the state, you must:

  • Be a resident of said state
  • Pass a background check
  • Prove the legal right to use the proposed location
  • Acquire a valid seller’s permit
  • Provide proof of bond
  • Provide details about the operating procedures

The kind of business you run also influences your licensing procedures. You obtain your license through local licensing agencies like the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the Department of Cannabis Control, and the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch.

Labeling and Packaging Regulations

There’s a variety of cannabis products on the market, and retailers have to be extra careful when labeling and packaging them for distribution.

Labeling and Packaging Regulations

There are two things to keep in mind when labeling cannabis products:

  • The primary panel that will be displayed to the consumers
  • The information panel that contains the manufacturing details of the product

As for the packaging, it is essential that the package must be:

  • Child-proof
  • Untampered
  • Non-transparent if they are edible cannabis
  • Resealable if there is more than one serving in the product

Potency and Dosage Limitations

Depending on the state you live in, the potency limitation for cannabis products varies widely. In the state of Massachusetts, the product must contain 5mg THC per serving and 100mg THC total per container. In Washington, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, and Nevada, the container may contain 100 mg THC total and 10mg THC per serving. States like Alaska and Oregon allow 5mg THC per serving and 50mg per container.

Consumers new to cannabinoid products tend to underestimate the dosage of these products. Most beverages of this kind contain 2mg to 100mg THC concentrate.

Lab Testing and Quality Control Standards for Cannabis-infused Beverages

Quality management is crucial when it comes to cannabinoid products. This is ensured through rigorous testing in labs. Some of these tests are:

Cannabis-infused Beverages
  • Potency test: This is where the THC and CBD levels of cannabinoid products are kept consistent.
  • Heavy metal test: Metals like arsenic and lead are filtered through this test.
  • Microbial test: The presence of fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms is eliminated through this test.
  • Residue test: Any solvents that remain in the manufacturing process are detected here
  • Pesticide test: The presence of pesticides and other unwanted chemicals are tested here.

Examining Alcohol Regulations

The regulation of alcoholic beverages is done through the amalgamation of federal, state, and local laws. This can greatly affect the manufacturing and distribution of alcoholic beverages.

Sales and Possession

The state and local authorities usually regulate the sale of alcoholic beverages. Who can sell and purchase alcoholic products may vary from state to state. Any beverage containing over 0.05% alcohol is defined as an alcoholic drink by the federal government. This may also vary depending on the state and municipal.

The federal government determined that the minimum age for consuming alcohol would be 21. Even though state governments have the authority to control the sales of alcohol, they cannot undermine the legal age of consumption. Almost all states abide by this rule with a few minor exceptions. Some states bypass this law. In some renditions, individuals under 21 can consume alcoholic beverages in the presence of their parents or legal guardians.

Differentiating Between Countries and States with Varying Alcohol Policies

As stated many times before, the law pertaining to alcohol varies depending on where you reside.  Local and state authorities oversee the sales and manufacture of alcohol along with the policies associated with it.

Alcohol Policies

Blue Laws

Laws regarding what people can or cannot do on Sundays may sound idiotic, but they are still effective in some states. There are nine states in the US where you can find the remnants of this old law. This means that the counties control the sale of alcohol on Sundays. Some can even decide whether or not the liquor stores will be allowed to open.

Buying Alcohol from a Grocery Store

Getting liquor from a grocery store is a foreign concept to those living in control states. In control states, the government controls the means of distribution of alcohol. There are 17 states that can be categorized as a control state. Among them, 13 states have state-owned liquor stores.

Most states allow the sale of beer and wine in grocery stores. But hard alcohol can only be bought outside liquor stores in 21 states.

Happy Hour

Happy hour is when the typical workday ends in the US. There are eight states that don’t allow the happy hour discount.

Election Day

The sale of alcohol is prohibited in the states of Massachusetts and Alaska during election day when the polls are open. The sale of alcohol continues after the polls close.

Comparative Analysis of Alcohol and Cannabis Regulations

Both alcohol and cannabis are psychoactive substances that the federal government controls. They are both regulated by the state and local authorities, so fine-lining their comparison can be a difficult task.

The sale of cannabinoid products is still very dicey as it is still illegal on a federal level. Some states have indeed legalized its use for medicinal or recreational purposes. Because of this, the laws pertaining to cannabis and cannabinoid products still remain very convoluted. Alcohol, on the other hand, remains legal nationwide. The local and state governments regulate it, but its jurisdictions are still maintained on a federal level.

Marketing and Advertising

The marketing of cannabis products can hardly be seen. It is still socially and legally ostracized. This means that advertising is only limited to certain channels and mediums.

Alcoholic beverages are advertised through more lax regulations. It is actually quite common to come across marketing schemes for alcohol products.

Regulative Bodies

Cannabis is categorized as a Schedule I controlled substance by the DEA. On the state level, however, agencies like the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the Department of Cannabis Control, and the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch oversee the sales, licensing, and monitoring of businesses dealing with cannabis.

Even though states have boards that control alcohol sales, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Bureau regulates alcohol on a federal level.

The Intersection of Alcohol and Cannabis Regulations

In some ways, the laws pertaining to alcohol regulation are what paved the way for cannabis regulation. Both alcohol and cannabis are controlled on a federal level. Both have state-by-state variables. Both are monitored by the state authorities.

In states where both of these substances are legal, there may be restrictions on selling them together. In some cases, it is illegal to sell cannabis and alcohol at the same establishment.

Alcohol and Cannabis Regulations

Cannabis and alcohol take away sobriety and disrupt motor functions. Naturally, DUI laws apply to both of these substances.

So when can an alcoholic beverage be sold as a cannabis product? Well, alcohol infused with THC is nothing new. Cannabis-infused alcohol products naturally have to abide by both of these sects of rules.

Consumer Safety and Education

It comes as a surprise to no one that retailers must ensure customer safety when selling alcohol and cannabinoid products. Cannabinoid alcohol products have very inducive effects that can rattle a layman. Customer safety can be ensured by the following means:

  • Label the product in detail. The labeling should include all the ingredients and dosage information. Not to mention a warning label about the psychoactive effects.
  • Standardized testing of the product is essential. This ensures the quality and potency of the product.
  • Marketing must be done with precision and caution. Any misleading advertisement can risk the safety of consumers.
  • Sellers must follow the regulations set by the state and federal governments. Audits from time to time can ensure the quality of the product.
  • The packaging must fool-proof. It must be child-resistant and sturdy enough to remain untampered.
  • Customer feedback is an effective way of connecting to the target demographic. It can be helpful when it comes to improving the product.

Conclusion

The legalities concerning cannabis and alcohol can be confusing, even more so if you are talking about alcohol imbued with cannabis. Nonetheless, these laws are there for a reason. Both of these substances can easily be misused and cause harm to the consumer and people around them. Hopefully, after reading through all of this, you have a better idea about the legal aspects of selling alcohol and cannabis products.

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Nazmul Nahid

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