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CBD drinks become illegal in Hong Kong

Hong Kong officials have announced a ban CBD drinks, and CBD in all its forms, after categorising it as a “dangerous drug”.

In local reports, the ban, which is due to come into force from 1 February, is alleged to involve harsh penalties for anyone discovered smuggling, producing or in possession of CBD products.

CBD, a cousin of THC which is already illegal in Hong Kong, does not get consumers high but imstead has been used to assist with anxiety and inhibition.

Customs intelligence officer Au-Yeung Ka-lun told reporters at a news briefing: “Starting from 1 February, cannabidiol, aka CBD, will be regarded as a dangerous drug and will be supervised and managed by the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance. As of then, transporting CBD for sale, including import and export, as well as producing, possessing and consuming CBD, will be illegal.”

Penalties are due to include up to life in prison and HK$5 million (US$638,000) in fines for importing, exporting or producing CBD. Possession of the substance is said to result in a sentence of up to seven years and HK$1 million (US$128,000) in fines.

Last year, when declaring its initial ban, the Hong Kong government cited difficulties in isolating pure CBD from cannabis as well as the chance of contamination with THC during the production process as well as the ease by which CBD can be converted to THC.

Chan Kai-ho, a divisional commander with the department’s Airport Command told local press: “We will tackle all kinds of dangerous drugs from all angles and all ends, and the intelligence-led enforcement action is our major goal.”

Chan said the authorities would handle any issues with CBD found in drinks on a case-by-case basis and “seek legal advice from our Department of Justice to determine what the further actions will be.”

Hong Kong’s first CBD cafe was opened in 2020, serving CBD-laced drinks and products to consume on the premises, however the ban will force such venues out of businesses or face the removal of all CBD items.

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