Archive for March 28, 2013

The Freedom of Information Act in Japan: Regarding Cannabis

by Kazuhiko Shirasaka and Shigeru Aso

On November, 2012, the voters of Colorado State and Washington State voted on a new initiative that legalized the recreational use of marijuana. This state level decision contradicts the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, and disputes the International Narcotics Control Board located in Vienna and the World Health Organizations’s international treaties and agreements. Such international organizations have been displaying concern regarding this issue, yet in Europe and many other parts of the world, many countries have laws that prohibit cannabis but actually do not enforce them strictly for small amount possessions.

So the United States legalized recreational cannabis in two states, and regarding medical marijuana, 18 states and Washington D.C. already legalized this, and have achieved goals such as cutting spending on prosecuting and persecuting those who may use, possess, or cultivate marijuana. Taxation perhaps is another issue, for each state has its own laws, but it is clear that  taxation of cannabis will bring a tremendous amount of income for these states that have moved forward.

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Medical Marijuana in Japan?

The Japanese Cannabis Control Act, implemented by the occupying forces of the United States shortly after World War II strictly prohibits the medical and clinical application of cannabis by doctors and researchers. Industrial hemp is permitted, but this requires licensing which is very difficult to obtain.

The clause that prohibits clinical research is promulgated in the Cannabis Control Act – Part 4 section 2 and 3. Currently, the goal of the legalize marijuana movement in Japan is to eliminate this particular clause,  which shall eventually allow cannabis use in various treatment and perhaps as a preventative healthcare measure, and even help those with debilitating medical conditions.

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