New York is a weird place for CBD users right now. On one hand, the state is very lenient with the vast majority of CBD products. On the other hand, they’ve outright banned several items for no reason.

In general, you can use or sell any of your favorite CBD products, but you can’t legally sell them in combination with food or drinks. This has caused a lot of problems for CBD cafes that have already been creating their own concoctions for quite a while.

To get to the bottom of this mess, we’ll go over the laws that New York has regarding CBD, and we’ll go over some of the ways that retailers and consumers are getting around them. Let’s get started.

State Laws

First, you should know that New York hasn’t even attempted to stop stores from selling your standard CBD products. Oils, creams, sprays, lotions, toiletries, cigarettes, and all other standard forms of CBD are perfectly legal in New York, and there’s really no reason for us to talk about those products in-depth. Just go buy some.

However, you will run into some problems if you want to open a CBD cafe, or if you want to offer special alcoholic drinks. For some reason, New York randomly decided to ban all CBD-infused consumables.

That wasn’t always the case. Shortly after the 2018 Farm Bill was passed by the federal government, several CBD-oriented diners and cafes opened up. Even some bars and restaurants added some CBD items to their menus. The state didn’t regulate those products, and New York residents could easily sit down with a CBD-infused cocktail, or they could order a CBD-infused dessert.

In February, that all changed. The Health Department of New York sent notices to every restaurant, diner, bar, and CBD-oriented cafe to tell them that they were banning them from infusing CBD into any of their menu items.

New York officials blamed the ban on the FDA’s ruling that CBD could not be used as a food additive, but none of New York’s regulatory agencies are under the FDA’s rule. So, it seems odd that they felt obligated to enforce the FDA’s rules.

The sudden ban caused several cafe owners to close their doors entirely, and the majority of other food-based establishments pulled CBD items from their menus. They didn’t do it without dishing out some harsh words for state officials, though.

The massive amount of backlash from retailers and consumers caused New York’s lawmakers to prevent law enforcement officers from enforcing the new ban until July 1st. Sadly, that date has come and gone, and business owners can expect $600 fines every time they sell a CBD-infused food item.

That doesn’t mean you can’t find a few restaurants that are more than happy to work around the ban, though. Consumable CBD items are still legal in the state. They just can’t be used as food additives.

So, some restaurants and diners are selling bottles of CBD in the same way that places like Buffalo Wild Wings sell their hot sauces or other popular items. You can purchase a bottle of CBD oil next to the counter at some restaurants, and you can mix it into the food you order on your own.

So far, that has worked well for the businesses that do it. They technically aren’t breaking any laws, and customers are still able to enjoy their favorite concoctions.

You won’t find a lot of places that do that, though. The ban has put a lot of business owners on edge, and they’re refusing to sell the products in an attempt to stay out of trouble. You really can’t blame them.

Consumers and business owners aren’t the only ones against the ban. Some state officials have been fighting to lift the ban, and some prosecutors are refusing to pursue any charges against the restaurants and bars that still sell CBD items. The issue should be resolved within a couple of years if everyone keeps fighting against the ban.

Other than the ban on food additives, New York is a pretty lenient state when it comes to CBD. You can buy topical creams or bath items with ease, and you can even buy consumables such as CBD oil, CBD spray, and solid supplements. You can also move around the state without worrying about law enforcement.

Federal Laws

Once again, the federal government is the main issue behind the confusion surrounding CBD oil. States like New York didn’t seem to care very much about the products, but FDA rulings and vague federal laws have forced them to enforce nonsensical laws. In the case of New York, a bartender can’t mix a CBD cocktail for you, but you can pour as much CBD oil as you like into a drink that they make. What’s the difference?

The federal government just isn’t taking the issue very seriously. When asked about issues concerning CBD laws, federal officials tend to give answers that give them years to even begin solving the problems that each of the states are facing, and they don’t seem to consider CBD to be a major concern.

The federal government’s lack of drive to flesh out federal CBD laws has caused almost every problem that CBD consumers are facing around the country. It has led to a major disconnect between states, and CBD users and retailers are typically the ones that suffer due to that disconnect.

What is legal in Illinois might be illegal in one of the states neighboring it. That goes for nearly every state in the country. The wording of the 2018 Farm Bill has put too much responsibility on individual states, and each state has handled CBD very differently.

Traveling with CBD is a particularly difficult task due to the way that the federal government views CBD. Traveling by plane is easy when you read the rules on paper, but then you have to consider that most CBD products aren’t FDA-approved. That’s a requirement at all airports.

Traveling by car is also a risky endeavor. Since every state has different rules, travelers must know the laws of every state they travel through. If they don’t, a single traffic stop can result in an unnecessary fine or arrest.

Those things shouldn’t discourage you from trying the new CBD products that are flooding shelves, though. You just have to do your research to see what is legally available in the state you live in, and you should definitely research any states that you might pass through. .

How To Use It

New York residents may not be able to buy a CBD-infused entree at their favorite restaurant, but they do still have a lot of options available to them. Here are some of New York’s best CBD products.

Concentrated Oil

You know how we’ve spent the bulk of this article talking about the food additive ban? Here’s the part that helps you ignore that ban entirely.

While it’s illegal for bartenders, cooks, or anyone else preparing consumables to add CBD to their recipes, it’s not illegal for consumers to do it after the food is prepared.

That’s why a lot of dining establishments are selling CBD products on shelves near their cash registers. If you want a particularly soothing ale, or if you want to really make your comfort food comforting, you can purchase CBD oil at the register, and you can add it to your food or drinks yourself.

If you want, you can also bring a bottle of your own CBD oil. Having it available at the restaurant you’re visiting is just a convenience.

It may not be as convenient as asking for a CBD martini on the rocks, but it’s a tactic that allows you to enjoy the same product. You just have to stir the drink yourself.


CBD sprays are fast-acting, convenient, and versatile. You can spray them directly into your mouth like a minty breath spray, or you can spray them onto your food. They’re perfectly safe for consumption, and they’re perfectly legal in New York.

These sprays tend to take effect a lot faster than topical creams or other items that aren’t ingested. So, they’re great for relieving a sudden anxiety attack, and they’re really easy to use when you don’t have a lot of time.

Pet Products

New York has nothing against CBD-infused pet products. If you can find it online or in a store, you can purchase it, and you can use it on your pet.

These products are particularly useful for helping dogs that get anxious in the big city, and they can help dogs that are depressed from being alone during their owner’s long workdays. That doesn’t mean they’re a replacement for properly walking your dog and loving it, but they can help during those busy weeks when you just can’t find the time to take your dog out a lot.

Final Thoughts

New York isn’t the worst place for CBD users, but it isn’t the best, either. The food additive ban has hurt a lot of businesses, and it has made a lot of consumers go without products that they fell in love with before the ban was put in place.

You can still use everything else, though. You don’t have to worry about your store getting closed because you’re selling CBD oil, and you don’t have to worry about getting arrested for having a pack of CBD cigarettes on you.