CBD-infused food and beverages are still illegal under U.S. law. So why are they everywhere?

In 2017, no one knew what CBD oil was. In 2018, folks stumbled saying “cannabidiol” (that’s CBD oil) out loud. In 2019, it’s everywhere, and everyone wants in on it.

In flavors like “cucumber mint refresh” and “watermelon renew,” a new line of CBD-infused waters and teas is hitting major grocery stores in California and Colorado on Monday, each 16-ounce bottle containing 20 milligrams, or trace amounts, of “active hemp extract.”

These beverages by the Oki company are among the first wave of large-production, mainstream products that are taking CBD out of the neighborhood head shop, dispensary or hippie health food store and into mainstream commerce.

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Many of these companies stay intrastate because of bandwidth and financial resources,” said Garrett Graff, managing attorney at Hoban Law Group in Denver, which calls itself the nation’s premier “cannabusiness” law firm and represents more than 200 cannabis and hemp companies, including Oki.

Very few of the companies Graff’s firm works with have the ability to scale up to meet the ongoing supply needs of a major grocery chain or big-box store, yet market research firm Brightfield Group predicts the CBD oil business could balloon to a $22 billion market by 2022. Being among the first “marquee” national brands has the potential to be very lucrative.