• Kyodo

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The Tottori Prefectural Assembly approved a revision Monday to a drug control ordinance to place a complete ban on growing cannabis, including hemp for industrial use.

The move followed the arrests in October of the president and two employees of a hemp processing company on suspicion of marijuana possession. The company was licensed by the prefecture to process hemp. This was the first case in Japan in which workers at a licensed firm were arrested for alleged violation of the cannabis control law.

The company in the town of Chizu had been allowed to grow hemp, a variety of cannabis that contains negligible quantities of psychoactive components. In a program to revitalize the town, hemp is being raised for use in other products and for industrial use, as hemp fibers are known to be strong.

Under the revised ordinance, which was passed unanimously by the assembly and will be enforced within the year, the prefecture will no longer issue the license to any company.

Gov. Shinji Hirai, who earlier called a complete ban on cannabis growers the “ultimate way” to prevent a recurrence, told reporters Monday that the prefecture will “promote efforts to prevent drug abuse.”