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Ban on CBD Products Takes Effect in Hong Kong   

In this image made from a video, Hong Kong Customs officials speak at a press conference in Hong Kong, Jan. 27, 2023. Hong Kong banned cannibidiol, also known as CBD, as a 'dangerous drug' and imposed harsh penalties for possession on Wednesday.

Hong Kong has officially banned an ingredient derived from the cannabis plant.

A new law took effect Wednesday that characterizes cannabidiol, better known as CBD, as a “dangerous drug” equal to that of heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. But unlike THC, the psychoactive chemical found in cannabis, CBD does not get its users high, and has grown in worldwide popularity as an alternative medicine for pain and inflammation relief or stress and anxiety.

Under the new law that was passed by Hong Kong’s legislature last year, anyone caught possessing products with CDB can face up to seven years in prison and a fine of more than $127,000. Anyone caught and convicted of importing or exporting CBD could be jailed for life and fined more than $637,000.

Hong Kong has a strict zero-tolerance policy towards dangerous drugs. Authorities have cited concerns that CBD products could be contaminated with THC as a reason for the new law. CBD is also prohibited in mainland China.

The ban has forced many Hong Kong businesses that sold CBD products to either remove the products from their shelves or close their doors entirely.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse.