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In Hokkaido there’s weed, weed everywhere, but not a drop to smoke
Master Blaster Dec 3, 2014
Japan tends to be a very drug-shy country. Most people you talk to will say that they’ve never gone anywhere near substances like marijuana, and according to a Public Library of Science survey, 98 times out of 100 they’re telling you the truth.
And yet you might be surprised to hear that there is an abundance of cannabis growing wild all over the northern island of Hokkaido. But before you go booking a ticket, you may want to learn why.
■ Crops as high as an elephant’s ear
The wild plants found in Hokkaido have existed there for centuries. Japan had long used hemp for fabrics, rope, and paper, and the government oversaw vast fields of it in production. Hokkaido Seima Kaisha, founded in 1887, was among the biggest growers in Japan. However, even before then, with all the cultivation going on it was only natural for nature to take its course and wild plants to begin popping up outside of fields.
▼ When in Hokkaido, be sure to stop by Oasa Station, which has a different pronunciation but uses the same kanji (the one on the right) as marijuana.
The hemp industry has since been nearly extinguished in Japan, but its legacy lives on in millions of wild plants which can be found there, especially in less-populated northern regions like the Okhokst Coast line. Anyone looking to head out there for a good time might be disappointed, though, as this was largely industrial hemp with presumably low THC (emphasis on the “presumably”).
That doesn’t appear to deter everyone, though, such as a pair of men who were arrested in September of this year. The 23-year-old farmhand and 37-year-old part-time worker were caught in Shari, Hokkaido with eight plastic bags stuffed full of wild growing marijuana that they harvested for their “own personal use.”
■ In Japan, heroin was the gateway drug
Japan’s use of cannabis both as a material and medicine continued well up to the end of World War II. However, with occupation by the US came the Cannabis Control Act in 1948. This shut down all hemp growing occupations and removed all marijuana-based treatments from drug store shelves in the country by 1951. It was a major turn-around in the nation from widely making use of the plant to banning it with extreme prejudice. Especially given most people in Japan didn’t really seem to care about recreational use before or after the law went into effect.
Taking that at face value it would be as if your government suddenly banned polyester or Fisherman’s Friend cough drops: a weird move and inconvenience but nothing that would affect our day-to-day lives all that much. On the other hand, Masamutsu Nagahama, formerly of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, reported back in the ’60s that Japan had successfully nipped a potential narcotics frenzy in the bud.
In a report he made in 1968, Nagahama praised Japan’s efforts to curb drug use in post-war Japan which he says had exploded. Nagahama states in his report that right after World War II there was a surge in amphetamine use between 1946 and 1955, and that trend was followed by a heroin boom from 1955 to 1962. Interestingly, throughout this tumultuous period there was no significant increase in marijuana addiction among Japanese people.
“Cannabis is controlled by the Cannabis Control Law of 1948. Cases of cannabis crime in Japan are generally of foreign origin and the situation is being closely watched. There has been an increase in cannabis offences lately and in the number of arrests of foreign sailors and soldiers on leave from the Vietnamese war fronts who import cannabis into Japan.
We cannot find any abuse of LSD but in view of the unfortunate results of its use in some European countries and in the United States of America a strict watch is being kept.
In conclusion, we think we can state that the drugs problem is under control thanks to the strong line taken to eradicate addiction, loyally supported by public opinion, good treatment arrangements in rehabilitation centers and a great improvement in the standard of living of the Japanese people.”
[Masamatsu Nagahama, A review of drug abuse and counter measures in Japan since World War II]
Nevertheless the Cannabis Control Act, which seemed to have been a sleepy counterpart to the overarching Narcotics Control Act, is still in effect, doling out hardline sentences from half a century ago. You may recall back in the ’80s authorities even locked up Paul McCartney for 10 days before deporting him, despite a considerable loss of revenue for all involved.
■ Fish meat processing requires an extreme level of alertness
Back in 2014, September saw another spate of arrests, this time in Shibetsu, Hokkaido. A group of men, nine of whom worked for a local salmon processing plant, were arrested for possession of around 4 kg (8 lbs) of dried marijuana. In addition to their criminal charges, they were terminated from their jobs of packing salmon roe. Apparently, they couldn’t get high off handling fish eggs day in and day out alone.
▼ “Wild marijuana eradication plan underway. Unauthorized harvesting and possession are crimes. Hokkaido Government and Police”
The Japanese government also sends out survey and destruction teams each year to destroy wild growths of marijuana, nearly 90% of which are said to exist in Hokkaido. The peak was in 1983 when 8.5 million plants were removed from their habitat, but recently the number has dropped to around 660,000 plants removed annually. So, if you’d like to help them in the “removal” process, just know it’s probably decidedly crappy and runs the risk of jail time even for a first offense.
It would seem whether it’s dancing, file sharing, or deep-frying weed, a big part of the Japanese government’s solution is to throw the book at any offender in the hopes of curtailing a greater social problem down the road. Whether this is effective policing or the stifling of social progress really depends on how you feel about one or all of these things.
Japan tends to be a very drug-shy country. Most people you talk to will say that they've never gone anywhere near substances like marijuana, and according to a Public Library of Science survey, 98 times out of 100 they’re telling you the truth. And yet you might be surprised to hear that there is an abundance of c …
Buying Marijuana Seeds in Japan 2020
When most people think about cannabis, Japan is not one of the first places that come to mind. However, since this global hotspot is one of the most popular places to go as a tourist, it comes as no surprise that people are curious about their cannabis laws. If you have asked yourself: is weed legal in Japan? Let us be the first to tell you that it absolutely is not, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a cannabis culture in this country. In truth, plenty of Japanese citizens have an interest in cannabis. Fortunately, we made this guide to help the locals and any visitors with all that they need to know about the Japanese marijuana laws. Whether you are looking to smoke or are looking for information on how to buy cannabis seeds, we have your information right here.
Japan’s Mixed History with Cannabis and Cannabis Seeds
Despite the fact that it is illegal now, cannabis was once considered a major crop in Japan. In fact, hemp (also referred to as “asa”) was a staple in Japanese culture. This plant was used in many different capacities. While people did tend to use it for textile purposes, some evidence suggests that cannabis seeds were also cultivated for the plant’s unique psychoactive properties that made it popular for use back before any stigmas were attached.
Hemp (also referred to as “asa”) was a staple in Japanese culture.
As recently as 1914, Japan was actively growing hemp as a primary crop. This was taking place across several different provinces, including Hiroshima, Tochigi, Iwate, Aidzu, and Kiushu. The crop itself was thriving in areas that were too cool for some of Japan’s other chief exports to be grown. Their production quality was exceptional compared to other popular areas.
In the 1920s, the view of cannabis in Japan began to change. By 1930, the Japanese government was interested in limiting the cultivation of cannabis seeds and created the Cannabis Control Law. This law placed restrictions on the production, possession, and sale of cannabis, particularly by unlicensed parties. Many revisions to this law were made, but ultimately it was changed to offer severe punishments for those believed to be profiting from cannabis in any capacity. This included the cultivation of cannabis seeds, import and export of cannabis, and the possession of cannabis as well.
Throughout the ever-increasing cannabis restrictions, in 1948, cannabis became fully illegal in most capacities with varying punishments depending on the severity of the offense. Since then, there have been no changes regarding the legalization of cannabis. Though citizens have an interest in the legalization of cannabis, for now, progress is at a standstill.
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Japan Marijuana Laws Surrounding Cannabis and Cannabis Seeds
In all areas of Japan, cannabis is completely illegal in every capacity. Unlike the majority of other developed countries, Japan has many limitations regarding the cultivation of cannabis seeds and the possession of cannabis itself. While there are some licensed exceptions for cultivating cannabis with a very low THC count for textile products, there is realistically no exception to this law that would impact the average person.
The Japanese government has a severe outlook on cannabis possession and cannabis use. While some areas offer exceptions for small amounts, the fact is that in Japan, the possession of cannabis is considered outright illegal and is subject to excessive charges if you are found with it. Though there will always be exceptions made and discussions to have, it is unlikely that you will be caught with cannabis and not charged in some capacity.
In addition to the possession of cannabis, the cultivation of cannabis seeds is illegal as well. What is most interesting about the extreme view on cannabis in Japanese law is that the cultivation element is where the process becomes illegal. You can legally possess cannabis seeds within the country, but at the point where you are actively cultivating cannabis seeds to grow marijuana, you are in direct violation of the local law. That isn’t to say that people do not grow their own cannabis seeds, but it is worth noting that the difference between legal cannabis seeds and illegal cannabis seeds is whether or not you actively grow them.
You can legally possess cannabis seeds within the country, but at the point where you are actively cultivating them, you are in direct violation of the local law.
An interesting point of contention was a relatively recent statement by the Japanese government that citizens could still be charged for marijuana even if they are not in the country. Following Canada’s legalization of cannabis, Japanese officials instructed all Japanese citizens to use caution in other countries and to adhere to Japanese laws even when abroad. In their official statement, they suggested that a Japanese citizen could be penalized for such practices while in other countries outside of Japan.
What Marijuana Charges in Japan Look Like
Since marijuana is outright illegal in Japan, it is important to understand what you might be looking at in the event that you are cultivating cannabis seeds or merely in possession of marijuana. Japan has an outright zero-tolerance policy pertaining to all drugs, and by Japanese law, cannabis is considered on par with a variety of more problematic narcotics. While you can look for exceptions in other countries, being caught with marijuana in Japan will, without question, be a trip to the local police station. In fact, many years ago, Japanese police tried to detain Paul McCartney of the Beatles actively. Since this is the case, the average citizen has more cause for concern.
In the event that you are found in possession of cannabis, the charges are punishable by up to five years in prison with a very large fine to accompany it. Though the actual length of your sentence might differ depending on your discussions with the court, it is safe to assume that you will be dealing with a fairly unpleasant sentence. This set of charges applies for use as well as possession, so do not make the mistake of thinking that you will get a lesser sentence if you are not actually using it.
The real area of concern when it comes to cannabis charges in Japan is the sale of it. In Japan, any person who is found under circumstances that would suggest that they are involved with the sale or export of cannabis can expect some truly extreme charges. For this offense, the charges are punishable by up to ten years in prison as well as a large fine. These charges apply to anyone cultivating cannabis seeds, selling cannabis, or transporting cannabis.
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Cannabis Trafficking and the Risks Involved with Cultivating Cannabis Seeds
Since the Japanese government has such an extreme stance on cannabis, it comes as no surprise that they actively target the individuals selling cannabis. If the police suspect you of selling cannabis in any way, you can expect to be met with the fullest extent of the law. The cultivation, import, or export of cannabis is considered to be a major infringement, and the government has been known to punish people for it in severe ways.
The area of concern that might also be an exception is the cultivation of cannabis seeds. While cultivating cannabis seeds is illegal, there might be a gray area surrounding the intentions behind it. It is possible that you might be charged for cannabis possession rather than cultivation in the event that the plants are intended for personal use. This would be completely up to the courts to decide, but it would still be a better outcome than being charged for production and distribution within the country. In some instances, individuals caught with marijuana have been given leniency after some time spent in prison and allowed to make a public apology and carry out what is deemed an appropriate level of shamed behavior.
The Japanese Government and How Laws Are Improving
The current Japanese government seems to have absolutely no interest in improving the country’s laws surrounding cannabis and the cultivation of cannabis seeds. For the time being, they are not only actively penalizing anyone who does it, but also using public forums to discourage it. The concept of being forced to make a public apology in Japan is a fairly common practice, and it is one that is being used for big names that are caught with drugs. In Japan, the law is the law, and they act accordingly.
Though the Japanese government does not seem ready to budge on cannabis, more and more people are using it. Japan has seen a recent increase in cannabis use, a point of particular contention for the government. However, Japanese citizens are also beginning to stand up for their rights. Recently, Japanese citizens connected online to form a parade to take a stance against existing marijuana laws. Certain Japanese celebrities have also begun to speak out, with some bolder individuals, like actress Saya Takagi, pushing for its perceived inevitable legalization. Legalization in Japan will take some effort, but we will hopefully see changes happening soon.
Learn all about the Japanese laws, regulations, history & culture regarding marijuana in order to Buy, Sell & Grow Cannabis Seeds in Japan.