Hong Kong banned CBD this week, categorising it as “dangerous drug”, and its possession, consumption, and distribution now carry harsh penalties. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant, and is used for various health and wellness benefits, such as reducing anxiety, pain, and inflammation.
Under the new law, which is effective since 1st of February, possession can lead to at least 7 years in prison and a fine of more than $127,000; importing, exporting or producing CBD are punishable by life in prison with a $637,000 fine. Through passing the bill, Hong Kong aligned with China’s mainland zero-tolerance policy on drugs, where CBD was banned in 2022.
While most Asian countries have strict drug laws and enforce harsh penalties, including the death penalty, in the US and Europe CBD’s popularity grew enormously in recent years. Vantage Market Research’s recent analysis estimates the total Global Cannabidiol (CBD) Market to reach USD 47.22 Billion by 2028, up from USD 4.9 Billion in 2021, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.3%.
However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects and safety profile of cannabidiol, last week U.S. Food and Drug Administration said they “have not found adequate evidence to determine how much CBD can be consumed, and for how long, before causing harm,” adding that “a new regulatory pathway for CBD is needed that balances individuals’ desire for access to CBD products with the regulatory oversight needed to manage risks.”