CBD (Cannabidiol): It is one of 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants, along with THC, accounting for up to 40% of the plant's extract;
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol): It is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis and one of at least 113 total cannabinoids identified in the plant;
Cannabis: It is a psychoactive drug from the cannabis plant. THC is the main psychoactive component of cannabis;
Dangerous Drugs Ordinance: It is a regulation that lists all prohibited drugs in Hong Kong, including cocaine, cannabis and THCs, heroin, ice (methamphetamine hydrochloride), ecstasy (MDMA) and ketamine.
In June 2022, Hong Kong Security Bureau submitted a paper to the Hong Kong Legislative Council, proposing to list CBD under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance. Following that, on October 26, 2022, the Hong Kong government submitted the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance and Control of Chemicals Ordinance to the Legislative Council, including the legislative control of CBD under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance. 1
According to the amendments, starting from February 1, 2023, Hong Kong will ban the manufacture, supply, import, export, transshipment, sale and possession of CBD products (including CBD cosmetics and food). Specifically,
any person who manufactures, supplies, or sells CBD products is liable to a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of HK$5 million;
any person who possesses CBD products is liable to a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment and a fine of HK$1 million.
Following the amendments, disposal boxes were placed at government premises in ten different districts. From October 27, 2022, to January 30, 2023, consumers and enterprises can voluntarily dispose of CBD products in the disposal boxes.
Reasons for the CBD Ban
In recent years, CBD products have become more and more popular in the Hong Kong market. Enterprises increasingly tend to add CBD to their products, using CBD as a marketing gimmick and claiming that CBD products can relieve stress and improve sleep quality. But there is no authoritative scientific evidence for these claims.
According to the opinion of the Hong Kong government laboratory, CBD can be naturally decomposed and converted into THC under daily storage environment, and can also be intentionally converted into THC. As the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis and a dangerous drug specified in the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, THC is easy to cause severe addiction. Considering the above factors, the Hong Kong government decided to ban CBD products.
The CBD ban, on the one hand, will help fortify Hong Kong’s defence in the fight against drugs. On the other hand, it will eliminate the CBD businesses in Hong Kong.