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Japan's health ministry to discuss legalization

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Health Department plans to legalize medical marijuana

A panel comprised of Japan's Ministries of Health, Labor and Welfare met on May 25 to begin discussions on lifting the ban on medical cannabis for the benefit of patients with refractory epilepsy.

As reported The asahi shimbun, the ministry could revise the current law during the summer. Japanese law currently prohibits the possession or cultivation of any part of cannabis, including "the flowers, leaves, roots and ungrown stem of the cannabis plant".

The Asahi Shimbun refers to the "Group of Seven", or the seven most advanced economies, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. United. Of these, Japan currently has one of the strictest approaches to cannabis regulation and prohibition. In August 2021, the Japanese ministry wrote a report that recommended the government consider following the example of other countries to allow patients to use medical cannabis.

While the ministry is discussing adding a provision to the Cannabis Control Act that would exclude the use of medical cannabis as grounds for punishment, the agency is also looking to further criminalize recreational use.

Although cannabis is illegal, some Japanese cannabis growers are allowed to produce hemp to create shimenawa, a specific rope commonly used at shrines. There are no penalties for these growers, lest the production of the ropes include "unintentional inhalation of marijuana substances." However, this hypothesis was refuted when no grower's urine tests came back positive for cannabis in a 2019 survey.

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The Asahi Shimbun writes that some experts believe the law should provide treatment options for "marijuana addicts to prevent recurrence," which primarily includes young Japanese people.

In December 2021, the Japanese game company Capcom has authorized the usen of his character Ace Attorney to curb cannabis use among the nation's youth, in conjunction with the Osaka Prefectural Police (OPP). Previously, Capcom has assisted the OPP with other crime prevention campaigns. “Capcom hopes to support crime prevention activities in Osaka and across Japan through this program, which will see the production of 6 original posters, as well as 000 original flyers that will be included in individually wrapped face masks” , the company said in a press release.

Japan has long banned cannabis under the Cannabis Control Act which came into force in 1948. historically, cannabis had a place in Japanese culture and religion, but beginning in the 1950s, Japanese cannabis law mirrored the United States' approach to prohibition. Japan's hemp industry was still allowed to operate, but due to the high cost of cultivation licenses and declining demand for hemp products, there are few farms left.

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Although the government's view is beginning to change, it is still clear that Japan still needs to make progress before it can fully embrace cannabis legalization. In 1980, former Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney traveled to Japan with less than 100 grams in his possession, earning him an 11-year re-entry ban. In February 2022, a U.S. Marine was sentenced to two years of hard labor for mail ordering "a half gallon of weed-infused liquid and a quarter pound of cannabis" from an unnamed individual in Nevada. On May 17, a school nurse was jailed for allegedly possessing "an unspecified amount of dried cannabis in two jars and a plastic bag. »

Even when Canada legalized cannabis in 2018, the Japanese government issued a statement reminding Japanese nationals living on a large scale that cannabis use is illegal, even if they live in a country where it is legal.

according to Kyodo News, the National Police Agency released data that 5482 people were caught violating Japan's cannabis law (4537 for possession, 273 for illegal sale, and 230 for illegal cultivation).


Tags : JapanLawProhibition
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The author weedmaster

Media broadcaster and communications manager specializing in legal cannabis. Do you know what they say? knowledge is power. Understand the science behind cannabis medicine, while staying up to date with the latest health related research, treatments and products. Stay up to date with the latest news and ideas on legalization, laws, political movements. Discover tips, tricks and how-to guides from the most seasoned growers on the planet, including the latest research and findings from the scientific community on the medical qualities of cannabis.