The government wants to revise Japan’s Cannabis Control Law. Presently, growing or possessing marijuana is against the law, but because of a perceived increase in use of the drug among young people, the health ministry wants to make smoking and ingesting marijuana crimes, too. This may sound like splitting hairs — How can you smoke weed without having it? — but the proposal indicates the authorities’ strong resistance to trends in other countries to decriminalize and even commercialize the medicinal and recreational consumption of pot.

The official position is that marijuana is dangerous, despite the fact that little research has been carried out in Japan as to just how dangerous it is. This is also the case in the United States, where private use of marijuana has been gradually legalized at a local level. As pointed out in the 2018 documentary, “Weed the People,” now streaming on Netflix, marijuana is categorized as a schedule 1 drug at federal level, meaning it has no medical applications. It also means that no public research can be carried out on marijuana, even though it has been used as a remedy for thousands of years. Now, marijuana is recognized by many Western doctors as an effective treatment for various conditions, including cancer.

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