Chocolates and gummy candy have become a popular vehicle for CBD, but the non-psychoactive cannabis compound won’t be in Hershey products anytime soon.
Hershey CEO Michele Buck said the 125-year-old company is monitoring the trend but doesn’t have any plans to add CBD to its food just yet.
“It is a huge trend, so we’re evaluating it but have no plans at this point in time,” Buck said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
Advocates say CBD has a number of health benefits, from treating anxiety to helping with chronic pain, but there is little scientific evidence to back up those claims.
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration prohibits adding the compound to food and beverages because it is a main ingredient in a drug used to treat childhood epilepsy. The agency held its first hearing in late May to better understand CBD and how to regulate it.
“Frankly, there’s some work to do from a regulatory perspective,” Buck said. “Currently, it is not legal to ship interstate a food product that has CBD.”
Buck is not the first CEO of a large food and beverage company to say that she is waiting for the FDA’s go-ahead. Mondelez CEO Dirk Van de Put has said that the snackmaker is waiting for it to become legal to add CBD to food. Meanwhile, the chief executives of PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have both said that they are keeping an eye on the trend.
But as Hershey and other large consumer goods giants wait, upstarts willing to take on the legal risk are taking advantage of the trend.
For example, David Klein, the founder of Jelly Belly, has started a new company that sells gourmet CBD jelly beans.
Because the FDA hasn’t announced any specific plans to enforce regulation, local government agencies such as New York City’s health department have been in charge of cracking down. A larger company like Hershey would likely draw more attention.