Hong Kong Has a New 'Dangerous Drug': CBD

The possession, use, and sale of it is now criminalized
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2023 1:50 PM CST
Hong Kong Has a New 'Dangerous Drug': CBD
An employee adds drops of water-soluble CBD, or cannabidiol, an essential component of medical marijuana, into a coffee glass at the Found Cafe in Hong Kong on Sept. 13, 2020.?   (AP Photo/Vincent Yu, File)

Elsewhere in the world, a loosening of drug laws—and a big tightening. The latter refers to Hong Kong, which as of Wednesday now criminalizes the possession, consumption, and selling of the "dangerous drug" cannabidiol, or CBD. As CBS News notes, that means CBD has the same classification as heroin in the country despite the fact it's not a psychoactive drug. Having or using it could result in a 7-year jail term and a roughly $125,000 fine; import, export, or make it, and the fine could be five times as much and the sentence as long as life.

Hong Kong officials say the claims around CBD's therapeutic benefits haven't been scientifically proven, and further explained the policy change by pointing to "the difficulty of isolating pure CBD from cannabis, the possibility of contamination with THC during the production process and the relative ease by which CBD can be converted to THC," as the AP puts it. Authorities say some 77,000 items containing CBD were handed in ahead of the ban, which mirrors the one in mainland China, the South China Morning Post reports. Canada's British Columbia, meanwhile, has moved in the opposite direction.

On Tuesday it began a three-year trial that will see small amounts of hard drugs decriminalized. That means residents can have up to 2.5 grams of cocaine, heroin, meth, fentanyl, and morphine on them and not be arrested, though the drugs will remain illegal, reports the BBC. Those found to possess them will be offered details on relevant health and social services. (Oregon introduced a similar measure in 2021.)

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