Half Baked. Phish Food. Willie Nelson’s Country Peach Cobbler.
Ben & Jerry’s may have made plenty of flavors that sound like they’re infused with cannabis, but so far they’ve steered clear of actually putting pot in their pints.
But all that’s about to change. Today the Unilever-owned company announced plans to release a line of CBD ice cream — as soon as the non-hallucinogenic cannabinoid is approved by the FDA.
They might not have too long to wait. The FDA is holding a public hearing on CBD tomorrow, with a public comment period through early July. While it’s unlikely we’ll see any real regulatory change for a few months at least, the hearing is still a significant step in the direction of approving CBD as a food-safe ingredient.
Once that happens there will be a cascade of CPG companies scrambling to release their own line of CBD-infused products. Coca-Cola, Molson Coors, and others have already announced that they’re experimenting with the trendy ingredient. Other companies have kept quiet, but with the CBD market estimated to reach $16 billion by 2025, they’d be foolish not to at least look into ways to use it.
For Ben & Jerry’s, a move into CBD makes sense. It may be owned by Unilever now, but the company was started by two hippies from Vermont who make no secret of their affection for the Devil’s Lettuce. The brand still gives off that granola-crunching, liberal-leaning attitude. Ben & Jerry’s has also been on the forefront of other product innovation, embracing growing demand for plant-based and low-calorie ice creams, so it’s not surprising that they’re ready to experiment with a new buzzy ingredient.
But nothing’s going to happen until the FDA gives the industry the green light. Until then, we’ll have to settle in and wait — preferably with a pint of Half Baked.