Hong Kong will criminalize CBD early next year, classifying the compound as a dangerous drug.
Under changes to Hong Kong’s anti-drug laws that are expected to take effect on February 1, 2023, CBD will be treated as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine among about 200 substances classified as “dangerous drugs”.
Stakeholders say the changes will eliminate companies selling extracts and CBD-infused products such as beer, coffee and health supplements, and halt import trade into Hong Kong.
Jail time, fines
A government spokesperson said: “Commerce and the public should arrange for the early disposal of any CBD products in their possession to avoid breaking the law.”
Anyone who possesses or consumes CBD faces up to seven years in prison and fines of up to 1 million Hong Kong dollars ($127,000), under the changes.
Hong Kong’s security bureau justified the changes by suggesting industry claims that CBD does not produce a psychological reaction “lacking credible scientific evidence”.
“Cannabis is a drug, and the government will classify CBD as a dangerous drug…to protect the health of the public,” said John Lee, a former police officer and current chief executive of Hong Kong.
In the footsteps of China
China last year forbidden The use of CBD in cosmetics, a move analysts said is rooted in a revival of “anti-drug” education initiatives that see the popularization of cannabis-based beauty products at odds with government policies targeting Chinese youth.
A ban has been placed on the use of hemp flowers, seed oil and extracts in cosmetics – which were previously the only CBD-containing products legal to sell to Chinese consumers.
In justifying the law, Chinese authorities said that reliable THC tests to ensure products are below the national threshold of 0.3% are not widely available, and that CBD can easily be replaced with other cosmetic ingredients already known to consumers.
Reportedly, Chinese CBD producers, all of which should be exported, have become more emboldened to seek foreign sales since the ban went into effect. Many have already proven their power, with it estimated that China supplies up to a third of the world’s CBD.