Until recently, customers who walked into Uncle Leroy’s Coffee shop in Midtown Anchorage found an unusual item on the menu. For an extra $2, a barista would spike their lattes and Americanos with a dose of CBD oil, a non-intoxicating compound derived from hemp and cannabis.
But after just a few weeks of selling the CBD add-ons — and after Alaska Public Media broadcast a story about Uncle Leroy’s selling the trendy supplement in coffee — one of the shop owners received an email from the state. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has not approved CBD oil to be used in food, drinks or edibles, regulators said.
That’s where things get complicated. While Uncle Leroy’s pulled CBD from the menu right away, it remains for sale elsewhere around Anchorage. Some coffee shops still offer CBD shots in drinks. Bags of gummy bears and vaping pens marketed as CBD products flank gas station cash registers. It’s a confusing time for customers and retailers: A state agency warned consumers to be wary about such items, and state regulations are still being written.
“People still ask if we have it,” said Austin Schwartz, the Uncle Leroy’s owner who got the warning email from the state. “So I think there is a desire. I mean, there are a group of people out there that want it.”