The owners of a seafront bar are bracing themselves for controversy after announcing plans to introduce a menu of drinks infused with a substance extracted from marijuana.
Captain Jack’s in Central Parade, Herne Bay, will start selling beverages containing cannabidiol (CBD) over the next two weeks, with a price tag of £18.
Gin and tonics, cosmopolitans, sex and the city cocktails and margaritas will all have the substance mixed into it.
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But Hassan Hassan, who runs Captain Jack’s with his brother Nejmi, says he is prepared for a possible backlash.
“I expect there to be controversy surrounding this – there’s always controversy surrounding cannabis products,” he says.
“It’s safe to use with alcohol. It’s not illegal. It’s not cannabis – it’s had certain products removed from it.
“It doesn’t make people crazy and want to fight – it chills them out.”
Mr Hassan says the addition of the substance will not alter the flavour of the drinks, but will “slightly” affect their smell.
The drinks will cost about £18 each, with prices varying depending on the strength of the CBD used in them.
Should the new menu prove to be popular, Mr Hassan suggests the substance could be used at his cafe chain, Makcari’s.
“I found out that Costa Coffee is trialling a CBD-infused coffee,” he said.
“With us owning Makcari’s, I’m now looking towards the market there.
“We’ll see where the trend goes and look at adding CBD products to our cafes.”
Although it does not make users high, some people experiencing physical and mental ill health have claimed CBD has helped to ease their symptoms. But some are wary of the substance.
Alex Stevens, a professor in criminal justice at the University of Kent and president of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy, says it is unclear whether it is banned under the Psychoactive Substances Act.
“It’s a grey area whether it is legal,” he said.
“The act bans people from selling any substance that has a psychoactive effect if they’re not exempted as being caffeine, alcohol, medicines or food.
“The grey area arises when you define CBD as a food supplement, which is how it’s sold in health food shops.
“Nobody’s been prosecuted yet for selling it.”
Mr Stevens says that, under the legislation, it would be illegal to sell CBD products for their “calming effect”.
But he adds scientific research into the substance has not yet shown the exact impact it can have when coupled with alcohol.
“There’s a craze for selling CBD in all sorts of forms – it’s a fashion and there’s not much science behind it,” he continued.
“I think it’s a marketing gimmick.”