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Is the CBD industry being crippled in Hong Kong?

by Team Inc.

2022-08-16-Is CBD industry crippled in Hong Kong?

There is a chance that there will be a ban on CBD in Hong Kong. This would be a huge blow to the Asian cannabis industry and thus to consumers who use the drug for anxiety, depression, stress and a host of other complaints.

CBD is a compound found in cannabis that does not contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient responsible for the drug's high. In Hong Kong, it is legally sold in the form of oils, tinctures, and food and drinks. The number of companies selling these types of products has exploded in recent years.

New CBD law

In June, the Hong Kong semi-autonomous government unveiled a draft bill to ban the manufacture, import, export, sale and possession of CBD products. This proposal came after Beijing announced a ban on cosmetics containing CBD last year. After an election overhaul announced by Beijing last year wiped out nearly all political opposition in the Hong Kong legislature, the bill is likely to become law.

Officials say CBD often contains THC and can be decomposed, giving young people access to illegal drugs. Authorities also say that more than a third of the approximately 4.000 CBD samples tested contained trace amounts of THC. Illegal drug use is becoming more common in the city.

According to police statistics, the number of known cannabis users in Hong Kong has increased by a third between 2020 and 2021. has grown, while the number under 21 has increased by almost 50 percent. Hong Kong has strict anti-drug laws, with up to seven years in prison for possession and life imprisonment for manufacturing and trafficking.

Death blow to CBD industry

If this new ban comes through, it would be the death knell for a booming industry. After making headlines with its 2020 launch, the city's first CBD cafe, Found, now plans to close in October. "The proposed ban would unfortunately lead to the store and cafe closing" , said Fiachra Mullen, chief marketing officer of Altum International, the owner of Found.”

“Altum will focus on our other primary markets, Australia and New Zealand.” Mullen said the cafe provided strong demand in Hong Kong, with huge growth since it opened.

Unjustified claims from government

Business owners say the government claims about their products are false and can guarantee that everything they sell is THC-free. “I send the raw materials of my CBD products to the UK and Japan for a full check, and my products are 100 percent THC free,” said David Lau, an online retailer.

Lau started his business after his friend reported that CBD had relieved his depression and anxiety. He started selling vaping cartridges, but switched to oil and gummies after the government banned vaping products. Before the announcement of the ban, Lau hoped to open a brick and mortar store, but is now considering moving his business elsewhere.

Mullen, the marketer for Found, said his company can "effectively guarantee a completely THC-free product at the time of production, as no cannabis or hemp is involved in the production process."

More research

Experts say more research is needed to examine the effects of CBD products. Although several small studies suggested that CBD can help with mental illnesses such as anxiety. Fung Sai-fu, an instructor in the department of social and behavioral sciences at the City University of Hong Kong, said there is no evidence of the alleged benefits.

“The current proposed ban will not affect research and medical use. When it comes to research related to cannabis compounds and the use of pharmaceutical CBD products. For the consumer or recreational use of cannabidiol, there is no clear scientific evidence to support cannabidiol.”

Fung also said a few studies have shown that users experience side effects, such as trouble sleeping. “Some medical experts also warned that CBD could interfere with other drugs and could be contaminated.”

Source: www.aljazeera.com (EN)

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