“The occupation authorities issued several orders relating to narcotics. [. ] In 1947, the Cannabis Control Regulations were also applied, according to the orders on cannabis issued by the occupation authorities, and the Cannabis Control Law was put into effect in 1948.”
After Japan regained its sovereignity the new hemp law was widely ignored for about two decades as no one understood why it had been passed at all.
At the time there wasn’t any talk about a “marijuana problem” in Japan. The law seems to have been passed only because a few years earlier a similar law had been passed in the USA. Far more harmful and then already widely abused amphetamines remained legal because at the time they were legal in the USA too.
There are signs that the police is gradually becoming aware that marijuana is not like hard drugs and that its users are not dangerous criminals. However, this process will only progress as police, lawmakers and the general public are educated about the facts. One possible outcome may be an informal system of tolerance where police turn a blind eye to cannabis violations as they tend to do with cash payouts out by pachinko gambling parlors or “delivery health” (call girl) services, which are both illegal but ignored.
All foreigners caught with marijuana will be deported after having served their sentence, with a life-time ban on returning into the country (even someone as famous as Paul McCartney wasn’t re-admitted until 11 years later). Japan has a general policy of refusing entry to all foreigners with a criminal record on controlled substance violations.
Law enforcement in Tokyo keeps a tight grip on marijuana, so you have to exercise exceptional caution with street purchases. However, those set on making a purchase can go to Shibuya, the Tokyo shopping and entertainment district, and speak with the Middle Eastern people standing at the corner of Jewelry shop across from Sakuraya.
The cannabis in Japan is decent, but it is not reliable. One day you get the golden Buddha bud, and the next time, you get weed that your stoner uncle wouldn’t give away.
That includes marijuana growers and researchers with a permit. Other marijuana-related actions have been forbidden, which includes the export, import, smoke and supply of marijuana. People found unlawfully cultivating cannabis may be subject to penal servitude of up to seven years. Individuals found to unlawfully possess, receive or transfer cannabis may receive a five-year prison sentence with hard labor for good measure. Japanese cannabis laws are among some of the strictest in the world.
The Quality of Cannabis in Japan
Legislation only permits cultivation in Japan. This means that only strictly licensed holders may grow and possess cannabis.
Despite Shibuya being a great place to score weed, the area grows more dangerous every day. People continue to get caught. Do not always trust the Arabs because the police are watching their every move. However, if you decide to purchase from an Arab, the weed and hashish can be bought for 4,000 to 5,000 yen. Usually, they take your cell phone number to call you with a meeting place.
However, Japanese law is worse than said. You are guilty until proven innocent. The police are always looking to bust people who look white.
The cops will not let you go easily. If you smoke in a park or outside, be exceptionally cautious because if a person sees you, they will notify the police immediately. However, police have to ask to search you, and if you tell them no, they cannot search you. Do not drive because they can stop your vehicle and get your license number. Walking, taking a taxi or the subway is the best measurement. Never let the police search you or look at your passport. Simply say no and walk away. In some cases, they might try to strong arm you, but you do not have to let them search you.
It’s illegal to cultivate cannabis in Japan. If caught growing any amount, the offender may receive a prison sentence of up to seven years, and also given a 3,000,000 yen fine.
For importing or exporting cannabis, the prison sentence remains the same, but the fine is raised to up to 3,000,000 yen. If someone is found to have ‘mediated’ the transfer, sale or supply of cannabis, he may receive a two-year prison sentence.
Can you sell cannabis in Japan?
Hideo Nagayoshi, a representative of the Japan Medical Marijuana Association, supported Yamamoto during the trial. He commented that: “No other marijuana trials in Japan’s history had dug this deep into the validity of marijuana as a cancer treatment.”
If caught with an amount of cannabis that could be “used for the purpose of gain” (i.e. sold), then the Cannabis Control Law states that the prison sentence rises to up to seven years. The offender may also receive a fine of 2,000,000 yen, depending on the specific circumstances involved.
This certainly wasn’t the case in the past. Junichi Takayasu, the curator of Taima Hakubutsukan (Japan’s only hemp museum) explained to The Japan Times how prevalent cannabis cultivation used to be in the country.