Yes, medical marijuana could finally be coming to Japan.
Last week, a panel made up of Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare pushed for an update to the country’s laws and rules to permit the importation of medical marijuana products. Japan is very conservative when it comes to marijuana: there is a strict ban on its importation, production, and possession, and violating existing laws carries some of the harshest punishments on the globe. Even Paul McCartney was not immune. Marijuana is also hugely stigmatized there. However, if this recommendation is actually taken up by the government, legitimate medical marijuana products may be imported into Japan under its existing laws for pharmaceuticals and medical devices. We could see medical marijuana in Japan in the near future, which would be huge for Asian cannabis policy and the world.
Passed in 1948, Japan’s Cannabis Control Act bans the import, export, production, sale, possession, and research of marijuana. Japan also ratified the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Japan is friendlier to industrial hemp, but not by much. Similar to how the U.S. was before the 2018 Farm Bill, the cultivation of hemp in Japan is strictly controlled by the government. Different than us