Colorado Brewery Awarded First Ever Federal Approval for Cannabis-Infused Beer

Austin Ray
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THE GIST
Dad & Dude’s Breweria of Colorado has been awarded federal approval for its new line of beers called General Washington’s Secret Stash, all infused with non-psychoactive compounds (as in, these beers won’t get you high) found in the marijuana plant. Though weed is legal for recreational use in Colorado, it remains illegal at the federal level. As such, this marks the first-ever approval for a beer made with weed handed out by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).

WHY IT MATTERS
The company debuted a similar beer at last year’s Great American Beer Festival, Sativa IPA, which attracted lengthy lines and inspired considerable chatter. Now, Dude’s Brew is investing further in the style, creating a line around beers made with marijuana extract with plans to distribute them to a number of states—including the four where marijuana is legal.
 
The consumer hype surrounding the beer is unsurprising for obvious reasons. Apart from the hype, though, the new brand represents a counterpoint to the fearful actions of a number of well-financed industry stakeholders. Through that haze, it also offers a glimpse into what could emerge as a new trend in the not-too-distant future.
 
As we detailed last week, there are a number of beer distributors around the country actively lobbying against marijuana reform, while craft giant Boston Beer also worries weed could chew into the beverage’s market share. As demonstrated by Dude’s Brew, though, clearly not all in the beer business fear weed the way some others do. Some, in fact, embrace it.
 
More interestingly, however, with legalization of weed up for vote in a number of states this fall, General Washington’s Secret Stash is an early entrant in what isn’t yet, but could become, an emerging trend. Of course breweries will explore new ways to incorporate weed, or its inherent compounds, into their products when the drug is sold legally right next door. And given the direction the conversation around weed is heading, this seems more like a matter of “when,” not “if.”
 
That doesn’t mean this was an easy endeavor for the company. The process of proving there was no THC in the beer itself took about a year. But for brewery co-owner Mason Hembree, who wants to change public perception of pot, the effort was worth it. 

“The non-psychoactive compounds are so important and have so many benefits,” he told Westword. “Part of the goal is bigger than just creating a cannabis beer. My partners, my dad, our investors—they are following suit with some of my personal beliefs, which is that cannabis should be removed from scheduling.”
  
—Dave Eisenberg
 
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Colorado Brewery Wins Federal Approval for Non-Psychoactive Cannabis Beer [Westword]