Japanese police struggle to cope with rising marijuana use

Published Jul 25, 2019 01:36 p.m. ET
iStock / Tokio Marine Life

There has been an amount of 3,578 marijuana-related cases in Japan recorded in 2018, and the number has increased from last year by over 570. The Ministry of Health in Japan believe their country does not have the same issues regarding the increase in marijuana users as Europe and the United States. However, the police of Japan may have a different opinion.

The numbers of marijuana charges, despite the harsh laws that Japan has implemented around legal marijuana, continue to climb and cause problems for the police. The police are aggressively fighting the battle against marijuana. However, marijuana use has increased, and the estimate for the number of cannabis users in Japan is over 1.33 million people.

Marijuana laws and penalties for marijuana possession

In Japan, marijuana is an illegal substance, and possession of cannabis can result in a prison sentence of five years and can also include the possibility of a hefty fine of $17,000. The laws are stiffer for anyone caught commercially trading marijuana. Breaking the law in this manner can result in a ten-year term in prison.

Recently, the marijuana news interest stories involved a Japanese boy band member. A popular music idol was arrested for violating the Cannabis Control Act. His partner and himself were charged with having 2.3 grams of dried bud in their possession.

The customs and laws in Japan, dictate that the charged person must make a public apology in front of the press, and they are required to vow never to use marijuana again.

Japan is getting ready to play host to the 2020 Olympics. Authorities have issued warnings that cannabis use, possession and distribution is illegal a punishable to the full extent of the Japanese law. The police have also indicated that visitors will face tight searches at airport customs.

Vaping may be an alternative in Japan


The prevailing thought by the lawmakers and the people of Japan is that marijuana will not be happening in the near future in Japan. However, don’t be confused if people start a habit of vaping. It is legal to vape in Japan and vaping products are legally sold supporting this behavior.

Vaping in Japan does not come without restrictions, as it is not legal in enclosed public facilities and liquids containing nicotine are illegal. Users will have to comply as the Japan police monitor what is being vaped.

Japan was proud to host a vape expo for the first time in their country. It is only the second such event to be hosted anywhere, with over 8000 visitors from all areas of the world to witness the vape show.

Very trendy vape lounges such as Beyond Vape Japan are becoming social gathering places for vapers to gather comfortably inside.

When it comes to the laws of Japan regarding marijuana and its legality, there are no exceptions for medicinal or recreational use of cannabis.  Marijuana is illegal and if you are planning on using marijuana in Japan, be well warned that it is not worth the effort legally. The quality and price that you will pay for pot will be disappointing. The threat of being arrested or questioned by the police makes attempting to purchase or use cannabis a deterrent while in Japan.

Japan and its police force are fighting, perhaps an up-hill battle to restrict the use of cannabis in its country. The numbers show that the youth of Japan are curious about marijuana and the interaction with the police for cannabis use seems to be increasing in the youth sector.  It is a clear case of the inquiring youthful mind.

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