Hong Kong’s strict stance: CBD products in luggage could lead to imprisonment

Hong Kong's Crackdown on CBD Products

Hong Kong's crackdown on CBD products

Travellers with a penchant for cannabis and its derivatives need to exercise caution when considering Hong Kong as a destination. The city, once known for its liberal and creative spirit, has undergone a significant transformation, particularly concerning its stance on cannabis and its derivatives. Recent regulations have placed CBD products, even those without psychoactive effects, under intense scrutiny, with severe penalties for those found in possession.

The shift in perspective

Until recently, Hong Kong boasted a burgeoning cannabis community. CBD cafes offering a range of non-psychoactive hemp products, from teas to cookies, were sprouting across the city. These establishments operated without causing any significant disturbances or attracting negative attention. However, the political landscape's shift and the increasing influence of mainland China have brought about a change in the city's approach to CBD and cannabis.

CBD: A misunderstood compound

CBD, or cannabidiol, can be derived from both industrial hemp and traditional marijuana. The extraction process ensures that all traces of THC, the psychoactive component, are removed. While minute traces might remain, they are insufficient to produce any intoxicating effects. Despite this, the perception of CBD has been skewed, with some authorities equating it to potent narcotics.

Regulations and repercussions

The recent regulations in Hong Kong have placed CBD in the same category as hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Such a classification seems disproportionate, especially when considering CBD's therapeutic potential and its non-intoxicating nature. The penalties for possession are severe, with individuals facing up to seven years in prison and hefty fines exceeding £100,000.

Recent incidents highlight the severity

A recent incident at Chek Lap Kok Airport underscores the city's strict stance on CBD. A traveller from the USA was detained after authorities discovered two small bottles of CBD oil in her luggage. Such incidents, while seemingly minor, can have significant repercussions for the individuals involved.

Implications for travellers and locals

While the regulations primarily target Hong Kong's residents, tourists are not exempt. The city's authorities have issued public warnings, urging individuals to exercise caution and avoid carrying CBD products. Since February 2023, over 852 CBD-related offences have been recorded, with several individuals currently incarcerated. The majority of the confiscated items include CBD-infused cosmetics.

Broader context: The global perspective on CBD

While Hong Kong's stringent regulations might seem out of place, it's essential to understand the broader context. Many countries and regions have embraced CBD, recognising its therapeutic potential and distinguishing it from psychoactive cannabis. However, Hong Kong's shift appears to be influenced by mainland China's policies, which have historically been strict regarding cannabis and its derivatives.


The recent regulations in Hong Kong highlight the complexities surrounding CBD and cannabis on a global scale. While many regions are moving towards liberalisation and acceptance, others, like Hong Kong, are adopting a more conservative stance. Travellers and enthusiasts must remain informed and exercise caution to navigate these ever-evolving landscapes.

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Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen

Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen

About the author:

Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen is known for his extensive knowledge and expertise in the fields of CBD and hemp production. With a career spanning over a decade in the cannabis industry, he has dedicated his life to understanding the intricacies of these plants and their potential benefits to human health and the environment. Over the years, Robin has worked tirelessly to promote the full legalization of hemp in Europe. His fascination with the plant's versatility and potential for sustainable production led him to pursue a career in the field.

More about Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen

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