Hong Kong’s zero-tolerance approach to drugs leaves budding CBD industry high and dryPosted by On

Earlier this year, Daniel scanned the empty shelves of his store. With nearly nothing left except a payment counter and some minimalist decor, his store in a busy Hong Kong district suddenly seemed a whole lot bigger.

The entrepreneur used to spend most of his waking hours there. But he hadn’t been back in two weeks since the day police officers showed up, conducted an hours-long raid and arrested him for suspected drug possession. Recalling the nightmare, Daniel said, was akin to “digging up some traumatic memory.”

Daniel’s CBD store was raided by officers from the Customs and Excise Department earlier this year. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Overnight, he was forced to shut down his business of three years. His ambitions of heading Hong Kong’s biggest CBD lifestyle store, shaped by his belief in the benefits of the cannabis extract, were dashed in an instant.

“My mind was blank as I watched the officers taking all my products off the shelves one by one,” Daniel, who asked not to use his real name as he is still under investigation, told HKFP. “Everything I did went to waste.”

Soon, Daniel will have plenty of company in his misfortune. A government proposal to criminalise CBD expected to be passed by year-end will shut down dozens of CBD businesses in a city which enforces strict laws against drug use – even though advocates say the substance has virtually no narcotic properties.

A looming ban

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one…

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