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Hong Kong skylineAustralia has warned its citizens that in three weeks, Hong Kong will change laws so it can imprison, for up to seven years, anyone possessing a certain drug that can be sold legally in Australia.

From 1 February 2023, cannabidiol (CBD) will be listed in Hong Kong as a dangerous drug.

“Possession and consumption will carry a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment,” Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) warned yesterday in a bulletin issued by its Smartraveller travel arm.

“Trafficking and illicit manufacturing will carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.”

CBD is one of at least 85 active cannabinoids identified within the Cannabis plant. It doesn’t cause a “high” but is used for various medical purposes, including as an anti-seizure medication.

Australia regards CBD less seriously than does China. In 2020, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) announced it had decided to “down-schedule certain low dose cannabidiol (CBD) preparations from Schedule 4 (Prescription Medicine) to Schedule 3 (Pharmacist Only Medicine).

“The decision will allow TGA approved low-dose CBD containing products, up to a maximum of 150 mg/day, for use in adults, to be supplied over-the-counter by a pharmacist, without a prescription,” the TGA stated.

Travellers visiting Hong Kong shouldn’t even dream of taking CBD with them.

In the advisory update issued yesterday, DFAT also stated:

“Travellers arriving in Australia from Hong Kong will be required to undertake a Covid-19 test within the 48 hours prior to travel and show evidence of a negative test result. This applies regardless of your Covid-19 vaccination status and includes Australian citizens. Other countries are implementing similar measures.

“You’ll need proof of a negative Covid-19 test to board your flight to Hong Kong. Non-Hong Kong residents aged 12 or above must be fully vaccinated to enter Hong Kong.”

DFAT also notes: “Dual citizenship is no longer recognised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region following the application of the Nationality Law of the People’s Republic of China. As previously advised, Hong Kong’s National Security Law could be interpreted broadly, and you could break the law without intending to. If you’re concerned about the new law, reconsider your need to remain in Hong Kong.”

DFAT advises:

Exercise a high degree of caution in Hong Kong due to ongoing local Covid-19 restrictions.

Read the entire travel advice.



Written by Peter Needham