Voices | VIEWS FROM THE STREET

Views from Tokyo: Should Japan follow Canada and legalize recreational marijuana?

by Megha Wadhwa

Contributing Writer

What do you think of Canada legalizing recreational pot? Could or should it happen in Japan?

Rustem Khasanshin, 23
Sports federation (Russian)
I think the legalization of marijuana in Canada is good. People can do it when they want. In my opinion, marijuana is not so dangerous, not so bad for people, and alcohol and things like that are more dangerous for everyone. As for Japan, I think legalization of marijuana is possible because the community — the people — are ready for it. They know how to use it in the right quantity to relax and not damage their health. Courtney Cauthan, 37

Courtney Cauthan, 37
English teacher (American)

A lot of people take marijuana for medicinal purposes and it improves their quality of life. I don’t really see how legalization could be a bad thing, except maybe pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t like it. As for Japan, it would be nice but I seriously don’t see it ever happening. I think there’s too much stigma and taboo, because speaking of marijuana they just automatically think “drug,” and “drugs are bad,” whereas marijuana is not the same as heroin or crack cocaine.

Derek, 45
Business development (Canadian)

Legalization had been coming for a very long time. Even before I left Canada they were talking about it, for about 20 years now. I think it’s OK, but I’m not exactly sure because I’m not there anymore. For Japan it’s probably not a good idea as Japan is a more conservative society and it may not fit. Plus, I think Japan has other ways to release stress. On the medical side, I guess Japan has alternative medicine that may work better.

Carol Kaufman, 70
(American)

Marijuana has been legalized in my city of Las Vegas and it brought in millions of dollars in tax revenues that are going to the school districts, so that’s a wonderful thing. And it’s about time — I’m a medical marijuana patient myself, so I think it is a wonderful thing. As far as having it legalized in Japan, the culture is very different here, so I don’t know.

Kazuya Aragaki, 32
Gym worker (Japanese)

Speaking as a representative of what younger people think, the image of marijuana having a stimulant effect is strong. Honestly speaking, people think of it as a stimulant and that you smoke it and it makes you feel happy and relaxed. As for my personal opinion, I often read on the internet that it’s less harmful than alcohol. Personally, I would like to try it and I hope the ban on marijuana is lifted in Japan as well.

Takashi Inoue
Fishmonger, 68 (Japanese)

It is impossible for it to be legal in Japan. When I think about Canada, I feel that it might still be difficult even for them. … In Japan it’s illegal, isn’t it? I don’t think they will allow it in Japan. It’s come to a time in Japan where people aren’t allowed to smoke tobacco, and marijuana is even worse. My opinion is that I’m against it.

Interested in gathering views in your neighborhood or got something to say? Email community@japantimes.co.jp