Hong Kong labeled cannabidiol (CBD) as a dangerous drug and imposed severe penalties for anyone in possession starting Wednesday. The ban forced companies and shops to shut down or reform their businesses.
Supporters voiced their opinion, saying that CBD, which is a chemical from a cannabis plant, could reduce stress and inflammation, unlike the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana THC, which has been banned in Hong Kong for a long time.
Previously, CBD was legal in the city, cafes and shops selling the products that contain CBD, but prohibition from the government branded it as a dangerous drug and made it illegal. Consumers had to dispose of what they thought was the cure for their illness into the special collection boxes placed all over the city.
The government cited how hard it is to isolate the pure CBD out of cannabis, while there is a possibility of contamination with THC during the production process and it is easy to convert CBD to THC.
Starting on Wednesday, CBD possession will be punished by seven years in jail and 1 million Hong Kong dollar fine. Anyone importing, exporting or producing the substance can face a lifetime and be fined five million Hong Kong dollars.
This prohibition was announced last year and came into effect on February 1, 2023.