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Health Department Cracks Down on CBD Food Products at Dedicated Store

Sidewalk Wellness can’t sell its best-selling products

Caleb Pershan

A newly-opened, CBD-focused offshoot of Sidewalk Juice closed suddenly last week after the San Francisco Department of Public Health told operators they could no longer sell ingestible CBD products to customers. The store, called Sidewalk Wellness, is run by the same owners as a small chain of SF-founded juice, smoothie, and acai bowl shops. On Friday, it reopened on at 3186 21st street — without edible products.

Those products, like gummies, chocolates, olive oils, and even coffee, contain CBD derived from hemp, not cannabis. A non-psychoactive compound with potential health benefits, CBD can be found in both substances. While hemp-derived CBD is federally legal, it’s not FDA approved for ingestion. And that put Sidewalk Wellness in a bind.

“They said we’re here responding to a complaint,” Gus Daibis of Sidewalk Wellness, the new store, explained. Inspectors red-tagged the store’s ingestible hemp-derived CBD items, and now Daibis doesn’t know what to do with them. Currently, they’re in his trunk.

Now, Sidewalk Wellness sells only non-ingestible CBD products, such as topical ointments. “It’s just so strange to me because it’s on every corner,” Daibis claims of ingestible CBD products. “I’m not the only one selling it.”

By opening a separate Sidewalk store devoted to CBD, Daibis and his business partner, Jason Nazzal, thought they were being cautious. Rather than immediately combine CBD and their juice products in one shop, as they might eventually like to do, they kept their CBD and food brands separate but related.

The SF Department of Public Health has yet to respond to requests for comment.

Daibis says he’ll wait to see about a new piece of legislation, AB 228, which would legalize hemp-derived, ingestible CBD sales in California. If AB 228 becomes law, Canna Law Blog writes that “it will take the legs out from under one of the major arguments that could be used against Hemp CBD food products.” But that might not be the end of controversy.

“The law wouldn’t change the federal Food and Drug Administration’s position that Hemp CBD is unlawful in foods,” Canna Law Blog states, “and so it will be interesting to see how California cannabis regulators treat Hemp CBD in the wake of AB 228 passing (if it does).”

Meanwhile, AB 228 won’t arrive in a hurry. “My lawyer says it could take six months or two years,” Daibis tells Eater.

Sidewalk Wellness

3186 21st street,, San Francisco,