Hong Kong to crack down on CBD products
Hong Kong is moving towards cracking down on the unregulated CBD market, targeting companies specializing in CBD drinks and other products by the end of this year.
A government proposal unveiled in June aims to master CBD as a dangerous drug by including the substance in the first schedule of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance (DDO).
As a result, CBD will be listed as a dangerous drug in Hong Kong.
Authorities will implement the ban on the manufacture, import, export, supply, sale, possession and transshipment of CBD, with the exception of prescribed CBD products used for medical purposes or having a license issued by the Ministry of Health.
The CBD ban follows Hong Kong’s zero-tolerance policy on THC products.
Possession of a dangerous drug is punishable by imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine of HK$1 million (approximately $127,000), while trafficking is punishable, in case conviction, a fine of HK$5,000,000 (approximately $637,000) and life imprisonment.
Local authorities claim that CBD can be deliberately converted into THC, and they have found traces of THC on CBD products sold in the city.
They claimed that current technology is unable to remove traces of THC in CBD products, which could also naturally break down into the illegal active ingredient.
Hong Kong law enforcement has carried out more than 120 such operations since 2019, seizing more than 4,100 items, a third of which contain THC, according to testing by the Government Laboratory.
In an interview with BloombergFiachra Mullen, Director of Marketing at Altum International Ltd. and owner of Found, a CBD cafe and store, said that with a total ban on CBD in Hong Kong, businesses would likely be forced to suspend CBD-related operations.
According to the English-language Hong Kong-based newspaper, the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong would give consumers and businesses a “reasonable time“discard the products or consume them.
In order to avoid a wholesale ban on CBD products, industry players are offering to carry out tests in government-approved laboratories to ensure that there is no THC in their products. .
As Hong Kongers have long used natural herbal remedies to treat a wide range of conditions themselves, they were quick to embrace CBD.
Unlike THC, CBD has no intoxicating effect. It is used to treat a variety of conditions, and users report that it helps relieve anxiety, pain, and stress.
Therefore, the use of CBD has been seen as a natural extension of the Hong Kong tradition with natural herbs.
When Canada legalized cannabis use by adults in 2018, Hong Kong said in a open letter CBD was no longer classified as a dangerous drug.
The CBD market exploded in Hong Kong as companies sold it as additives for food, drink and cosmetics, although they operate in a gray area as companies can only claim its medical benefits if the product is classified as a prescription drug.
As Hong Kong is nominally semi-autonomous from mainland China under the “one country, two systems” principle, the announcement of the ban on CBD products may have followed in mainland China’s footsteps to crack down on CBD.
In fact, Beijing banned the use of CBD in the production of cosmetics last year, even though the country is considered the world’s largest producer of hemp.
Although the use of CBD in the cosmetics and beauty industry is all the rage in Asia, the rules on CBD in the Asian continent vary widely from country to country, as some do not legally the distinction between hemp used for industrial purposes and cannabis for adult use.
Regarding medical cannabis and cannabis for adult use legislation in the region, Thailand became the first Asian country to decriminalize recreational cannabis for personal use earlier this year after becoming the first country in Asia Southeast to legalize medical cannabis in 2018.