Marijuana in the Brewery: Protect Your Business, Your Workers, & Your Customers

Have recent developments in the legality of marijuana use impacted your brewery?

There are three areas craft brewers should carefully consider:

  • The brewing process and beer lineup
  • Worker use of marijuana
  • Liquor liability

Marijuana in the Brewery: Brewing and the Beer Lineup

Earlier this year, a couple of Florida craft breweries received cease-and-desist letters from the TTB, blocking sales of any beer infused with cannabis terpenes oil that the federal agency hadn’t approved.

Although the oil contains no THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive substance in marijuana, nor any CBD (cannabidiol), a nonpsychoactive said to offer relief from pain, anxiety and depression, its use still requires federal approval.

Here’s the long and the short of it: the TTB must approve all non-traditional beer ingredients, and the use of cannabis extracts is no exception.

Marijuana in the Brewery: Worker Use

Roughly three-fifths of US states have legalized marijuana use in some form. So if an employee is legally using marijuana—whether for medical reasons or recreational purposes—what does a brewery owner need to do to ensure that worker is not under the influence while on the job?

A good first step is to review your drug and alcohol policies. Make sure that they are clear, and your expectations are, too. (You may want to consult an employment attorney to ensure you are handling things properly.)

Discuss the policies openly with your employees. Be sure they understand them and are trained to follow them.

Brewery workers face a number of risks on the job. Any impairment can impact their ability to follow safety procedures and to react swiftly in emergency situations.

Marijuana in the Brewery: Liquor Liability

It’s not unusual for people to combine marijuana use with drinking alcohol. But the results can range from serious discomfort to death.

Of course, your brewery has no control over what a patron does after leaving the taproom. And it may not be easy to discern whether a patron recently arrived at the tasting room is already impaired.

But that makes strong and frequent liquor liability training all the more important.

Your staff is the first line of defense against a liquor liability claim against your brewery. They need to know how to discern when a patron should no longer be served at the bar. That’s for the patron’s own safety, as well as your brewery’s.

For more than 25 years, Beall Financial and Insurance Services, Inc., has been helping corporations and individuals protect their most important assets. The agency’s client base covers a spectrum of niche businesses, such as craft breweries, that require specialized insurance packages and knowledge. With California offices in Redlands and Newport Beach, Beall Financial and Insurance Services serves clients nationwide.