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be cited by a regulatory body as a reason an owner or manager’s involvement in the marijuana trade (even if lawful in the jurisdiction in which it takes place) renders that person ineligible for a license to produce, A distribute, and/or retail alcohol beverages. DISTILLER’S And although a full exploration of ADDITION OF these issues falls beyond the scope of this article, the connection HEMP, MARIJUANA, between an alcohol business OR ANY OF THE and the marijuana trade can, CANNABIS PLANT’S depending on the jurisdiction PARTS OR BYPRODUCTS and other circumstances, jeopardize the business’ TO VODKA OR OTHER ability to obtain, renew, and/ SPIRITS GENERALLY or hold an alcohol beverage TRIGGERS THE FORMULA license or permit. Further obstacles arise where APPROVAL REQUIREMENT a distiller seeks to incorporate CONTAINED IN marijuana directly into its TTB’S DISTILLED distilling business. A distiller’s SPIRITS PLANTS addition of hemp, marijuana, or any of the cannabis plant’s parts or byproducts REGULATIONS. to vodka or other spirits generally triggers the formula approval requirement contained in TTB’s distilled spirits plants regulations. These regulations arise under the Internal Revenue Code, not the Federal


Alcohol Administration Act (“FAA Act”) and, as such, do not require the spirits to move in “interstate or foreign commerce” in order to trigger the formula requirement. In other words, contrary to popular belief, even if a distillery never sells to a buyer in another state, TTB’s formula requirement still applies. The formula requirement accordingly gives TTB a “gatekeeping” mechanism to screen recipes of vodkas or other spirits containing marijuana-derived ingredients. In the past several years, a handful of distillers have distilled spirits from hemp and grain and flavored or infused vodka with hemp as a stand-alone flavor or in combination with other flavors. Under TTB’s 2000 hemp policy, an applicant submitting a formula must submit a laboratory analysis of the hemp component (oil, seeds, etc.) and satisfy TTB’s requirement that the finished product does not contain THC or any ingredient that federal law considers a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). The CSA defines marijuana broadly to include “all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not” as well as the seeds, resin, and every compound, derivative or preparation of the plant, seeds or resin. The definition of marijuana does not include sterilized seeds incapable of germination, the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from mature stalks, certain derivatives of the mature stalks, or oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant. If TTB adheres to the position it has articulated, then, it would consider marijuana-derived ingredients a Schedule I drug and therefore prohibited unless the ingredients are found only within the mature stalks or other excepted parts of the plant listed in the definition of


Artisan Spirit: Winter 2017  
Artisan Spirit: Winter 2017  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.