Marijuana and hemp laws in Japan are quite stringent. You could be served with a 5-year jail term if you are found with Marijuana or if you are growing it. But what was it like before the laws in Japan changed?
Marijuana in ancient Japan was considered a subculture. Marijuana and hemp have been at the heart of every culture in ancient Japan. The traces of marijuana including woven fibers and seeds were quite common during the 10,000 and 300 BC. Marijuana and hemp were also used to make fishing lines, bow stings and prehistoric paintings in the country. Marijuana was grown in ancient Japan up to the twentieth century. Growing of the crop was a round year cycle with the planting of the seeds happening in spring and harvesting in summer/fall. The stalks were then dried carefully, soaked and turned into the quality and strong fiber.
In ancient Japan, wearing clothing made of hemp fiber was something to be proud of. Historic hemp was the most valuable and abundant crop in the country. This is not only for its low cost of growing and caring for the plant but also for the benefits it offered. The ability to turn hemp into fabric made it highly valuable. This includes fabric for making hemp skirts, shirts, pants, ropes, ship sails and hundreds of other types of uses.
Hemp was also largely cultivated in ancient Japan especially in the districts of Shimane, Tochigi, Iwate, and Hiroshima among others in fact there is still a hemp culture in Japan, despite it now being highly regulated. Generally, the plant grows well in mountain valleys and on the interior plains and other cool places. It was cultivated as a food source and its course fiber. You will find marijuana and hemp (Cannabis Museum) in Tochigi, known as Taima Hakubutsukan that was established in 2001, by Junichi Takayasu (Facebook) (Wikipedia), a cannabis historian.
Scrolls were also some of the common hemp products in Ancient Japan. The plants were equally a great feature for the Japanese culture and it played a significant role in the country’s agriculture and culture. Many people also used marijuana before undertaking their daily chores in the country, this was seen as normal and created a feeling of balance and focus depending on the strain type smoked. This included Japan’s oldest poet, Manisha who had poetry collections and other artistic features such as acrobatics. Since the history of Japan, acrobats would use marijuana to hone their skills.
Similarly, smoking marijuana or eating hemp food products was closely associated with healthy growth in ancient Japan. It was deemed an excellent crop that helps you to grow tall. It became quite common that marijuana songs were introduced in schools especially in the 18th century because of the importance of this plant and what it had done for the Japanese throughout history.
Also, marijuana in Japan was highly celebrated because of its cleansing features in the country. It was considered a religious herb and played a major spiritual role in Shintoism, an ancient Japanese religion. Hemp and marijuana were therefore used to help venerate perfect harmony and for cleansing or purification purposes. Spiritual leaders used the herb to exorcise bad and evil spirits. There is a very interesting past of the ancient Japanese using cannabis in their history.
The plant also signifies purity even in weddings in ancient Japan. Brides who wore vines made from the marijuana plant were seen as pure and holy. Today, it is with no doubt that there are still taima (marijuana) ceremonies in Japan, held at the Isa Jingo in Mie Prefecture, Japan’s most sacred temple. Five annual ceremonies are held at the temple as a dedication to the country’s goddess despite the current demonetization of hemp and marijuana.
Undoubtedly, hemp and marijuana was quite a valuable and legal plant in ancient Japan. This was until General Douglas MacArthur removed its rightful usage after WWII when US troops occupied Japan. General McArthur guided the American troops who occupied most parts of the country and ruled its supreme court after atomic bombs wiped out Nagasaki and Hiroshima. McArthur was surprised that the plant that was banned years ago in the USA but Japan allowed it to be grown in such abundance. He imagined what would happen if the troops smoked marijuana and worked on a control act that is still in force to date. At least that’s what we are told he was worried about, the truth is mostly like not as black and white.
McArthur Cannabis Control Act demonized marijuana and hemp, a prohibition law, saw the enacted of harsh penalties for anyone found with marijuana in the country. Marijuana was banned because of McArthur argued that it had harmful amphetamines, and it is a drug stimulant. With Japan’s conservative culture, it was easy for the law to be enforced because many citizens believed that marijuana is a drug and hence, it is illegal to grow it or to distribute it in any way.
Even though Japan regained its independence many years ago, the McArthur Cannabis Control Act is still active. You can read more about General McArthur and the Japanese constitution here.
Japan has some of the most stringent hemp and marijuana laws across the globe. Even though it is a highly advanced democracy, if you are found in possession of hemp and marijuana among other drugs is punishable by law. You could get a 5 years jail if you are found in possession of drugs or if you are found growing marijuana. Almost every year, about 2000 people are charged with sentences for being in possession or for growing the drugs in Japan. This includes locals and foreigners.
Even though hemp and marijuana were highly valued traditional medicine, food and textile corp across Asia, the harsh laws in Japan were formulated to help curb addiction. This also followed heavily restrictions by UN drug treaties and of course after WWII and the newly formed Japanese constitution. Today, more voices are being raised in the country due to the growing interest in medicinal hemp and marijuana. There is an immense call to put an end to harsh drug policies bearing in mind that hemp and marijuana have been proven to be of great medicinal value.
Political leaders including Shinto Kaikaku have been on the front lines advocating for the legalization or at least the lift on the ban on hemp and marijuana in the country. This is an effort to fight for the interest of patients in the country who would benefit from medicinal marijuana and hemp.
With the growing number of people advocating for the adjustment of hemp laws in Japan, the future of this drug used for medicinal purposes could be promising. Japan is a wealthy nation with more than 127 million people including the elderly citizens who need specialized care. The population has become quite aware of the medicinal value of hemp and marijuana and are embracing its use.
Undoubtedly, medicinal marijuana plays a significant role in enhancing cancer treatment. It alleviates chemotherapy effects and to put it to good use, the harsh laws need to be adjusted. Many patients in the country have also voiced their support for the lift on marijuana and hemp ban in Japan.
The tough marijuana laws in Japan have been around for over 70 years as indicated in the Cannabis Control Law, Article 4. You will agree that this is quite a long period bearing in mind that marijuana has been used across different parts of the globe for medicinal purposes. The media has equally been receptive in the past few years on how hemp and Marijuana help to alleviate pain in cancer patients and the treatment of other diseases.
Today, it is quite clear that Japan is embracing the use of Hemp and Marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, you must get a license to grow the plant. Hemp and marijuana laws in Japan were amended in 2018 and this was seen as a major step to a bright’ future for the medicinal use of the drug in the country.
One of the major signs that the legalization of hemp and marijuana could be on the process is the fact that the stringent draconian laws were amended in 2018. In the past, if you were found with hemp or marijuana, you would serve up to 7 years jail term. However, today, the term has been reduced to 5 years. If you are a first time offender, the police often give you a chance or a suspended sentence.
In 2017, a second-time offender 22-year-old man was not jailed because of the idea that a prison or jail term would make him worse. The Japan court system has also been keen on having other ways of dealing with such cases.
Over the years, there have been different political and activist groups advocating for the adjustment of the laws. They focus on educating the citizens of the country on the benefits of Marijuana and Hemp to promote the good side of the drug. This includes increasing the awareness that legalizing marijuana could boost the economy of the country.
Similarly, there seems to be light on the tunnel on industrial hemp. It is an agenda on many drug debates in the country because it has been widely tolerable in the country’s cottage industry. Even so, a license is required as it comes with other legal restrictions.
In a nutshell, hemp and marijuana laws in Japan are still deep-rooted. However, with different leaders and advocates championing for the adjustment on the use of hemp and marijuana for medicinal use, the future of these drugs could be promising. Although Japan has opened their doors to CBD in many different forms now. BUT, it’s got to have 0% THC in it, which opens the market to low quality types of CBD that mostly comes from places like China where most of their soil is dangerous. Marijuana/Hemp plants can literally suck out radiation to heavy metal and other hazardous material from the soil. It’s good to repair the soil, but it’s not good when that plant then is used for CBD medicine.
Currently Nihon Scope is in the middle of creating a business in Japan called Nihon Scope Unlimited to help Japanese people get good clean (LEGAL) QUALITY CBD oil and to inform and educate. A lot of the information we are learning this from is directly from Acme Hemp Labs in Colorado, where they are actually rolling 100% Hemp Cigars with THC levels below 0.3% (which is the legal limit in America under the The Farm Bill of 2018 which was signed by President Trump). It’s pretty amazing how one place in the world has so much freedom but else where people are completely unaware of the benefits and how keeping it hidden and illegal is actually hurting the people of the country by giving the pharmaceutical, big tobacco and the alcohol industries more power to keep their monopolies unhindered.
Although I believe that if they could take a note from Colorado, it not only stimulates the economy and helps people but vice in general will never go anywhere and the impact will be subtle and if they are smart they’ll read the book “Who Moved My Cheese” and just get with the times and change to adopt this growing world wide trend.
By Mari Yamaguchi
The name of the era of Japan’s soon-to-be-emperor Naruhito will be Reiwa, the government announced Monday.
Emperor Akihito is stepping down on April 30, in the first abdication in 200 years, bringing his era of Heisei to an end. The new era takes effect May 1.
The name draws from the 7th century poetry collection “Manyoshu,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after the announcement by the chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga.
Abe said the name means that culture is born and grows when people come together and “care for each other beautifully.”
“With this selection of a new era name, I renew my commitment to pioneer a new era that will be filled with hope,” Abe said.
The Manyoshu is Japan’s oldest poetry collection and symbolizes Japan’s rich culture and long tradition, he said.
The choice was a break from more than 1,300 years of drawing era names, or gengo from using Chinese classics. It was kept strictly secret ahead of Monday’s announcement.
“We hope (the era name) will be widely accepted by the people and deeply rooted as part of their daily lives,” Suga told reporters in first announcing the name, written in two Chinese characters in black ink calligraphy on a white background.