Photo by Mark Forbes

Legalization | 05.31.2022

Japan Wants To Legalize Medical Marijuana & Criminalize Recreational Use

The scales aren't balanced.

Seven countries are leading the way in thriving economies. 

Additionally, these countries have also adopted some form of cannabis legalization, be it recreational or medicinal

Canada, the United StatesGermanyItalyFrance, the United Kingdom, and Japan

That said, Japan is the only country out of these seven that still has a federal and regional ban on all cannabis products. This includes medicinal use, personal cultivation, etc. 

In some recent exciting news, The Asahi Shimbun reports that Japan’s health ministry looks to legalize medical marijuana. 

While that’s a huge win for patients in Japan, recreational users shouldn’t sigh with relief. 

The health ministry is loosening laws around medical cannabis while tightening laws around recreational use. 

Japan hopes to introduce a new legal provision that would criminalize recreational use. 

Japan's Health Ministry Talks Medical Marijuana

Photo by Mark Forbes

The initial meeting went down on May 25, and the main goal was to legalize medical cannabis for patients with refractory epilepsy.

Under Japan’s Cannabis Control Law that went into effect in 1948, anyone in the country is prohibited from using the spikes, leaves, roots, and ungrown stalk of the cannabis plant.

The recent meeting looked to dismantle that law for medical purposes only. The health ministry understands that these parts of the plant contain THC, CBD, and other minor cannabinoids.

Instead of banning the plant parts mentioned above, the health ministry wants to ban specific cannabis-derived substances. This would give medical and therapeutic laboratories more leeway to explore the plant’s healing benefits for medicinal purposes.

Will Medical Marijuana Increase Recreational Use?

Photo by Pixabay

The Japanese Health Ministry is worried that widespread medical use will increase recreational use. What a tragedy that would be.

Regardless, people are still importing cannabis substances overseas into Japan, most of which contain THC.

For this reason, the panel will hold future discussions regarding a new provision for the Cannabis Control Law. The new provision would criminalize recreational use and penalize those who use it.

However, some medical experts propose that treatment for cannabis addiction may be more beneficial than punishing repeat offenders.

We’re not sure if Japan will loosen medical laws and tighten recreational ones. However, we should expect to have our answer come the ministry’s draft proposal this summer.

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