One of the exciting things about watching the legalization of cannabis spread is seeing how progress will be made in different places. Every journey to full legalization is different. In some places here in the US, we’ve seen long, circuitous paths between legalization and cannabis actually being made available to consumers. So just because a law has been passed that supports cannabis, that doesn’t necessarily mean that citizens of that state or country will be able to immediately get their hands on it. There may still be several hoops to jump through between legality and availability. However, a CBD cafe in Hong Kong is ready to make the first jump through one such hoop.
Cannabis Laws in Hong Kong
The laws governing cannabis in Hong Kong are still very strict. The region’s Dangerous Drugs Ordinance makes it illegal to buy, sell, transport, grow, or possess any of the drugs included in the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. As a Schedule I substance, THC is included in these lists and is therefore banned in Hong Kong. Violation of these laws could result in sentences that last anywhere between three years to life in prison, depending on the nature of the offense.
But although the laws are rather strict in Hong Kong by comparison to what we’re getting used to here in the States, they’re considered fairly lax for that part of the world. Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore all have much more restrictive cannabinoid laws, laws that are careful to ban not just THC but other cannabinoids as well. Hong Kong, meanwhile, focuses its legislation on THC specifically. And by doing so, it has opened up an important loophole through which an enterprising new cafe has been able to jump.
Found Cafe Finds Its Market
Fiachra Mullen, one of the co-founders of Found Cafe in Hong Kong, cites the region’s liberal attitude toward non-THC cannabinoids as the factor that allowed the cafe to open in its current form.
“Hong Kong is actually one of Asia’s most progressive cannabinoid markets,” Mullen says.. “It’s actually quite a progressive cannabinoid law in Hong Kong, so we can sell most cannabinoids in Hong Kong as foods as long as we don’t have any THC in the products.”
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Those products include quite a varied assortment. Found Cafe offers CBD-infused baked goods, but it also provides beverages such as coffee, tea, juice, and even beer. As long as the edibles are pre-packaged and everything served contains 0% THC, the cafe is in accordance with Hong Kong law.
Found Cafe is the first of its kind in Hong Kong, and its ownership of the market will certainly help it to prosper as it opens fully in October of 2020. However, some customers may balk at the prices. CBD products may be legal in Hong Kong, but they aren’t cheap. A CBD infused cold brew costs about $10.30 in American dollars, and a cake costs about five bucks.
Mullen hopes that her cafe will help to change the conversation about cannabis, mitigating the stigma that has so often been associated with this plant throughout the world. “We are trying to create a new conversation here, moving away from stoner culture,” she says. Toward that end, the cafe will host educational workshops and wellness activities to help make its patrons more aware of the health-giving potential of CBD and other minor cannabinoids. It’s a big step forward for Hong Kong and one that will hopefully lead to many more cafes of this nature and opportunities for a growing cannabis industry.
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