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Japan Legalizes Medical Cannabis Products, Tightens Drug Laws

New legislation paves the way for cannabis-based medicines while strengthening prohibitions against recreational use.




Japan’s parliament recently passed a pivotal bill, essentially altering the nation’s stance on cannabis. This legislation legalizes medical products derived from cannabis, responding to demands for access to cannabidiol (CBD) based treatments. Such treatments, effective in conditions like severe epilepsy, are already in use in Europe and the U.S.

The new laws, set to be implemented within a year of their announcement, categorize both cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), its psychoactive element, as controlled narcotics. This is a calculated move to regulate their usage reports The Japan Times.

In an extension of existing prohibitions, the legislation now also bans the use of marijuana, penalizing violators with up to seven years in prison. This change addresses a previous gap in the law, which did not criminalize the use of cannabis. This omission was partly to protect hemp farmers from inadvertent legal issues due to exposure to cannabis substances.

Additionally, the law introduces a dual licensing system for cannabis cultivation. One license caters to those growing cannabis for medical production, while the other covers different purposes, such as hemp. These particular changes regarding cultivation will come into force two years after the law’s announcement. The update reflects Japan’s increased concern over drug abuse, especially among young people.



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