Overseas, cannabis policy is going through mighty changes. Japan’s beloved and progressive first lady, Akie Abe, recently expressed her concerns to revive Japan’s rich history of hemp. The implications of Abe’s recent statements could mean a shift in hemp policy for Japan.
“Hemp is a plant of which all of its parts can be used effectively,” Ms. Abe told Spa!. “While it is not yet permitted in Japan, I think it can be put into great practical use for medical purposes as well.” Ms. Abe is personally interested in growing hemp. “I’ve even considered myself to apply for a permit to grow hemp,” she added. Ms. Abe posted a cannabis-heavy story about her love of hemp on her Facebook page. The first lady visited a legal hemp farm in western Japan last August.
A small handful of legal hemp farms in Japan have been able to obtain rare permits to legally grow.
When the Cannabis Control Act was passed in 1948, Japan was under American occupation. Before then, hemp was literally a staple of life in Imperial Japan, being used for fabrics in royal ceremonies. Japan still carries strict penalties for cannabis possession. Japan, however, has never encountered a widespread cannabis “problem.”
Japan needs change in cannabis policy like nowhere else. Getting caught with a single joint could land you up to a five-year prison sentence plus possible hard labor. Nowadays, if you’re a foreigner, you’re most likely to get deported for a cannabis conviction. Ms. Abe’s sensible approach to hemp could spell much-needed changes for Japan.