Amendments to the cannabis control law and the narcotics and psychotropic substances control law that passed the Diet late last year feature a new criminal offense for cannabis use.
The Dec. 6 revisions classify cannabis as a narcotic and make unauthorized use or possession a criminal offense punishable by up to seven years in prison.
The background to this legislative action includes a marked increase in arrests for cannabis-related offenses. In 2021, a record 5,783 people were taken into police custody for cannabis-related violations, of whom about 70 percent were under 30 years old. The charges revolved around possession and production,
Previously, even if cannabis was detected in urine samples taken during an investigation, no criminal charges would be filed if the individual was not in physical possession of the substance. Outlawing the act of using cannabis could potentially lead to a spike in arrests.
Perhaps influenced by the legalization of cannabis for recreational use in some states in the United States and other parts of the world, experts point to a growing trend in Japan, especially among younger generations, to view cannabis use in a positive light.
The fact remains that cannabis contains harmful components. Prolonged use can raise the risk of drug dependency and mental illness. Studies have indicated that using cannabis can affect cognitive functions over the long term. Everyone should be armed with basic…