SWFL businesses selling CBD in food, drinks must have a permit

Published: January 2, 2020 2:54 PM EST
Updated: January 2, 2020 5:51 PM EST

CBD is everywhere and starting with the new year, businesses have to have a permit to sell it to you if it’s in any food or drinks.

Jimmy Java, owner of Jimmy’s Java, has seen waves of success in the form of CBD coffee. For the last year, he has been selling it all across Southwest Florida, but not without hurdles.

“We can’t keep it stocked; whatever we make, we sell,” he said. But, he adds, last year, there were ups and downs in the industry, with the “lack of regulation, lack of direction.”

The new year changes that. With new food safety rules by the Dept. of Agriculture, every establishment selling CBD in food or drinks must have a permit. It is a process that Jimmy Java said was simple, and he welcomes it.

“There’s a lot of money to be made here,” he said. “There’s a lot of help for people.”

He thinks these regulations can protect consumers by cutting down on illegitimate or substandard products. Right now, that is a systematic problem seen in the vaping industry that people like Jimmy Java want to see avoided.

“Get it from reputable sellers,” he said. “Get it from people who can explain to you what it is and it makes sense.”

The changes are a refreshing change for consumers, like Shari Slavitt, who purchases CBD products for her dog and has seen its positive effects.

“Yeah, as long as it’s regulated,” Slavitt said. “It could be a really good idea.”

Inspectors began enforcing the rules and collecting samples for product testing on Thursday. The penalty for not having a permit is up to $5,000 in fines. A business could also be shut down, according to the Florida Retail Federation. Jimmy Java expects the industry to continue evolving.

“This is an important thing,” he said. “I like to tell people I likened the CBD industry to the Internet in 1998.”