by Shigeru Aso
When the Japanese equivelent of DEA raided Mr. Katsuragawa’s home, about 20 officers participated in this operation. His first thoughts were that perhaps some Yakuza’s have decided to raid his house. The police were vindictive and angry. They were using vulgar language and accused him of breaking the law.
Our Japanese constitution clearly states the right to pursue happiness. Mr. Katsuragawa was not spreading poison among the community, but merely helping out those who were sick and those who needed pot to simply better themselves spiritually.
At the questioning hearing of Mr. Katsuragawa, he claimed as follows:
The laws that incriminate those who engage in cannabis cultivation are contradictory to the common interest of the people, and because cannabis has minimal negative affects on the user, the current laws are unconstitutional. Many cannabis offenders believe what they have done was not wrong, yet cannot speak the truth because they are afraid to be persecuted and prosecuted to the heaviest possible maximum sentences. The laws are really fucked up in Japan regarding pot. This is includes medical marijuana cases as well. He also claimed that he would like to be the last person prosecuted for such injustice.
While locked up, Mr. Katsuragawa released a statement that he has put his fate in God’s hands, and that was willing to do his service to the people by fighting such unconstitutional marijuana laws.
The trial went far from smooth, while many different Japanese pro-pot groups supported his cause. After all, Mr. Katsuragawa was a famous pot advocate, and had written many published articles regarding this issue. He was truly the Che Guevarra of Japanese marijuana movement.The Japanese DEA operating under the Department of Health and Labor, claimed that Mr. Katsuragawa intended to destroy society by spreading poison among the public. They were going to make an example out of him for sure. He was held with no bail for a very long time, and was refused rights to visitation due to the fact that he might try to destroy evidence, so his visitations were limitted to short sessions with his attorney.
The Japanese jails are generally very clean, but it is also known to be as very hard time. The jails are extremely strict, and movement is minimal. Mr. Katsuragawa stuck it out, until his bail was temporarily issued, and then shortly thereafter revoked, for he was considered a flight risk.
Mr. Katsuragawa released a statement through a letter from jail. He wrote, ‘It was wrong for me to continuously engage in criminal activity, and in that regards, I am willing to do the time. However, cannabis should be legalized, and the governmental agencies should recognize this fact that they already know – pot is harmless. Knowingly arresting innocent victims of the law is unconstitutional. There is simply no sense in enforcing a law for the sake of enforcing the law.’
Everytime Mr. Katsuragawa got into heated debates about marijuana with the cops, the cops always said the same thing. ‘We enforce the law because it is the law. The courts shall decide whether or not what you’re doing is justifiable.’
So Mr. Katsuragawa believed that the courts would read the overwhelming evidence that pot is not a dangerous drug, but a very resourceful plant that can be used in medicine, industry and culture. However, his hopes were too high. Here is part of the court dicision.
1 The attorney states that the negative properties of cannabis use has not been proven, and even if there is any such negative properties, it is less than that of alcohol and tobacco which is legal in Japan. Medical marijuana has proven itself to be useful in pain relief etc., and the anti-cannabis laws that send cannabis offenders to prison is a violation of our rights to pursue happiness. As far as self usage and medical usage is concerned, such anti-cannabis laws are unconstitutional and therefore invalid.
However, the anti-cannabis laws are established in the best interest of the people, because it is ‘public knowledge’ that cannabis may cause accute visual and audio hallucinations, cause mental derrangement and has properties that affect judgment and comprehension. Eventhough there are known differences among each user, not only in long term effects but also short term affects are reported.
Does this sound like proper information regarding cannabis? Absolutely not. Does it remind you of ‘Reefer Madness’? Japanese courts have really proven themselves to be ass backwards.