Before 1948, cannabis was widely cultivated in Japan for ropes, textiles, medicine, as a food source, and even for spiritual practices.
Followers of the Shinto religion would leave cannabis as an offering to their gods and goddesses at shrines. While several Zen Buddhist samurais and scholars wrote loving haikus about the cannabis plant and her splendor.
But then, in 1948, The Cannabis Control Act was introduced in Japan when the US occupied the country after World War II. And things haven’t changed much since.
Today-- weed is NOT legal in Japan.
Under Japan’s Cannabis Control Act, possession of weed is punishable by up to 5 years in jail-- and up to 7 if there’s a suspected intent to profit -- PLUS, up to $18,000 in fines.
And growing, importing, or exporting could land you up to 10 years in jail, and $27,000 in fines!
Sadly, cannabis arrests have actually been on the rise in Japan.
In 2017 there were about 3000 weed related arrests.
In 2018 there that number jumped to over 3,500.
Japan is so strict on weed that when Canada went legal in 2018, the Japanese government warned it’s traveling citizens that if they partook in green festivities -- they could face consequences upon their return home…
While foreigners visiting Japan caught with cannabis may be deported or even banned from ever re-entering the country again.
In fact, Paul McCartney was kicked out of Japan for 11 years after being caught with pot!
Some good news, however, is that Japan legalized CBD in 2016 and the cultivation of hemp is permitted with an official license. One of the most commonly grown strains, favored for its remarkably low THC levels is Tochigishiro.
Konichiwa my friends!