Cannabis-derived CBD catches on in Hong Kong, but 3 arrested after banned substances were found in products.. most wrongly labelled products were US sourced

We wondered when this might happen?

Here at CLR we wouldn’t take the risk of importing CBD products into HK unless they were made using precision fermentation

The South China Morning Post reports..

  • CBD is legal and used in beauty products, drinks and oils, but it must be ‘100 per cent pure’
  • Imports seized by customs found to contain traces of drugs banned under Hong Kong’s strict laws
  • Traces of banned drugs have been found in nearly 200 imported cannabis-derived wellness products that have been gaining popularity in Hong Kong in recent years, a customs source has told the Post.

    Those caught selling such illicit goods faced possible life imprisonment, the source warned.

    The difficulty for traders and users of products containing cannabidiol – CBD for short, which is legal – lies in ensuring they do not also have other substances that run afoul of Hong Kong’s strict drug laws.

    Touted as an aid to relaxation and a natural remedy for everything from anxiety to insomnia and muscle pain, CBD is one of more than 100 chemical compounds found in the cannabis or marijuana plant.

    Products infused with it include oils, coffee, beer, biscuits, gummies, beauty items and even pet food.

    The substance is allowed in Hong Kong as long as other prohibited ingredients derived from cannabis are not present in the products. These include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive substance that gives users a “high”.

    “It is difficult to get 100 per cent pure CBD extracts from cannabis, and there’s a chance the products will contain traces of THC or other substances,” the source said.

    “The city vows zero tolerance to drugs. Any products that contain THC or other dangerous drugs at any level of concentration will be considered dangerous drugs under the law.”

    Since March 2019, Customs and Excise Department officers detected 10 cases in which a total of 194 imported CBD products were found to have traces of THC. They were mainly vaping oil, chocolate bars, health supplements, candy and tea.

    Cannabis, THC and certain cannabinoids are psychoactive and have potential for abuse, resulting in drug dependence and harm to the health of users. They are controlled under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance.

    Officers arrested three people involved in two cases, and they have been released on bail as investigations continue.

    The source has warned that those who import or sell CBD products found to have THC traces risk arrest for drug trafficking, which carries a life imprisonment sentence.

    Those who buy or consume such products face a maximum of seven years’ jail.

    The insider said most of the seized products were imported from the United States, where the federally legal limit for THC in CBD products is 0.3 per cent. The threshold in Britain and most European countries is under 0.2 per cent.

    Importers and traders in Hong Kong must ensure that their products do not contain any THC and other dangerous drugs at any level of concentration.

    A 2018 report by the World Health Organization said CBD showed no indication of potential abuse or dependence, and in fact it had been found in several clinical trials to be effective in treating epilepsy.

    “There is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD,” it said.

    Cannabis extract CBD’s use in Hong Kong is growing – how to consume it

    In Hong Kong, pharmaceutical products with CBD can only be supplied by registered doctors, but so far no such products have been registered in the city, according to the Security Bureau’s Narcotics Division.

    “Given the wide range of non-pharmaceutical CBD products, there may be other laws applicable to various products. Importers and traders are responsible for ensuring that the products they procure or supply comply with all relevant requirements in the law,” it said.

    “Trafficking, buying or selling online or offline, as well as illegal possession and consumption of dangerous drugs, are criminal offences.”


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