Students and marijuana

Arrests of university students in connection with growing, possessing or selling of cannabis have continued. Students apparently have much lower inhibitions to the use of cannabis than to other narcotic or stimulant drugs. They might think that smoking marijuana is not very different from smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol. But possessing or selling marijuana is prohibited by the Cannabis Control Law. University authorities need to educate students about the law so that they will not end up having their university life ruined by arrests and indictments.

In November 2007, police arrested two student athletes, both members of the rugby club at Kanto Gakuin University, on suspicion of growing cannabis in their apartments. It was later found that 12 members of the club smoked cannabis. The list of university students arrested on suspicion of growing, possessing or selling marijuana goes on: three Kansai University students in May 2008, a Doshisha University student in September, five Hosei University students by the end of September and two Keio University students in October. It was also learned last week that police arrested three Waseda University students and two students of the Science University of Tokyo for allegedly growing or trying to import cannabis.

The Metropolitan Police Department investigated or arrested 444 people in connection with cannabis-related crimes from January through August 2008, 9.2 percent of them students.

One reason for the spread of cannabis among students is that one can easily obtain cannabis-related information on the Internet. One of the Waseda students, arrested for allegedly growing four cannabis plants in his apartment, told police that he learned how to grow the plants on the Internet. He was found guilty of buying 10 seeds for ¥11,500 from a man in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, who was also arrested. He is suspected of having sold cannabis seeds, worth a total of about ¥32 million, to about 2,100 people.

University authorities should take the spread of cannabis use among students seriously and provide education and counseling on the harmful consequences of continued marijuana use.