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Health Panel Says Japan Should Allow Medical Marijuana

The recommendation is based on medical needs, and to harmonize Japan’s drug laws with international standards

Tokyo Weekender

A health ministry panel on Thursday recommended Japan allow the importation and use of medical marijuana products, reports Reuters.

The recommendation is based on medical needs, and to modernize Japan’s drug laws to conform with international standards, according to the committee. The panel wants to change the policy for Cannabis medicines when safety and effectiveness are confirmed.

Japan has harsh laws against marijuana, reports Bloomberg. It should consider approving the import, manufacture and use of cannabis medicines, subject to the same approval process as pharmaceuticals, the health ministry panel said. 

At the same time, the country should do more to discourage non-medicinal use of the plant, the committee said in its findings following a Thursday meeting. Possession of marijuana is illegal, but not its use. The panel actually recommends even stricter laws controlling adult use of Cannabis. It recommended criminalizing non-medical marijuana use in Japan.

Japan Has Strict Drug Laws. Remember McCartney?

Japan has very strict laws banning the importation, production, and use of illicit substances. Readers who have followed the scene for awhile may remember Paul McCartney’s infamous bust there in 1980. Police popped McCartney with half a pound of the kind whilst on tour. Japanese authorities held him for nine days before deporting his stoned ass.

The committee’s report noted that only 1.4 percent of people in Japan have ever used marijuana. That compares to 20-40 percent in Western countries.

Revision of the law would be necessary for the use of the cannabis-derived epilepsy drug Epidiolex, the report said. That drug, which several other nations have approved, is currently undergoing clinical trials in Japan, the report said.

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