Ben & Jerry’s plans a CBD-infused ice cream, pending FDA approval

Forget your midnight pint of “Half Baked” ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s said Thursday it plans to release a new CBD-infused ice cream flavor, joining other major consumer brands eager to add the hemp-derived compound to food and beverages as soon as it becomes legal on the federal level. 

The Burlington, Vermont-based ice cream manufacturer said it submitted a comment supporting the legalization to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ahead of the federal agency’s first public hearing Friday discussing the regulation of CBD-infused edibles with industry leaders.

“We’re doing this for our fans,” Ben & Jerry’s CEO Matthew McCarthy said in a statement.

Unlike cannabis, CBD does not get users “high” from the THC chemical, and is touted to have medicinal benefits, easing symptoms of anxiety and depression, for instance.   

Congress legalized hemp production in December in the 2018 Farm Act, permitting the sale of CBD-infused topical products like creams and ointments. However, the FDA has prohibited the sale of CBD in food and drinks without its approval, and the agency bars CBD in dietary supplements. 

That hasn’t stopped cities and states from enacting their own conflicting regulations around CBD-infused food and beverages.

Colorado passed a law last year allowing CBD in food and beverages, opening the door for fast-food chain Carl’s Jr. in April to test a CBD-infused cheeseburger.

Meanwhile, Ohio, North Carolina and New York City have all banned the hemp-derived compound in food, cracking down on restaurants serving up CBD-infused menu items.

Businesses seeking clarity on FDA regulations are hoping to enter a cannabidiol market forecast to reach $2.1 billion by 2020. The CEO of Oreo-maker Mondelez, Dirk Van de Put, told CNBC earlier this month that the company is considering adding CBD products to its line-up.