Hong Kong is home to some of the most expensive cannabis in the world, due to the plant’s low popularity and lack of grow operations. In fact, one study found Hong Kong has the fourth-most expensive cannabis in the world, among many other major cities. But as global news about state after state legalizing cannabis in the US, and the popularity of CBD, things are changing fast in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s first CBD cafe opened doors recently. The cafe is called Found, and sells food and drink items that are infused with CBD, including coffee. The cafe launched a “soft opening” this month with an official launch coming in October when the operation is fully functional.
“The coffee is delicious, and I like the effect that the CBD has on me,” Found customer Killian Hussey told WTOP. “Cognitively and physically, it kind of helps me get through the aches and pains of a normal day.”
A bottle of chilled CBD-infused coffee costs HK$80 ($10 USD) at Found, while a can of CBD-infused beer costs HK$70 ($9 USD).
“Hong Kong is actually one of Asia’s most progressive cannabinoid markets,” said Fiachra Mullen, co-owner of Altum International, a cannabinoids supplier in Asia that operates Found. “Unlike other parts of the region—Australia, New Zealand, Singapore—it’s actually quite a progressive cannabinoid law in Hong Kong.”
Despite the prevalence of cannabis- or hemp-based medicines in Hong Kong and neighboring China for over 2000 years, cannabis isn’t yet quite popular in many parts of Hong Kong. While Hong Kong is not as intolerant to drugs as per say, Singapore or Bali, where drug charges can lead to the death penalty, Hong Kong is more strict about drug usage than the US or Canada including its approach to cannabis, according to Trip Savvy. While it’s unlikely that tourists will spend time in jail for cannabis, the fines are astronomical—up to HK$1,000,000 for some charges. In Hong Kong, most drug trade is run by organized crime, such as the Triads, hence the heavy penalties for drug use.
CBD, on the other hand, has been reconsidered in Hong Kong culture as a positive supplement with no psychoactive effects.