Health

Japan passes bill to legalize cannabis-derived medicines

Tokyo, Dec 6 (EFE).- The Japanese Parliament (Diet) on Wednesday approved a legislation to legalize the medical use of cannabis-derived medicines.

However, at the same time, it banned the consumption of recreational cannabis due to a surge in use among the younger population.

Japanese patient groups have long been advocating for access to cannabidiol products derived from the plant.

Such medicines have already been legalized and utilized in several other countries, including the United States and Europe, to treat various illnesses, such as intractable epilepsy.

The revised legislation, passed with a majority in the upper house of the parliament, also permits the cultivation of cannabis for the production of medicines and other industrial use under specific regulations, the Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.

The Cannabis Control Law, scheduled to take effect a year after its promulgation, now explicitly prohibits cannabis consumption for recreational purposes to curb its misuse among the younger generation.

The recreational consumption of marijuana among people in their 20s has significantly increased in recent years in Japan.

Although the cultivation, possession, and trafficking of cannabis were already prohibited and penalized in Japan, recreational use of the substance was not explicitly banned, leading to a confusion in the country.

However, under the amended legislation, recreational consumption now carries a sentence of up to seven years in jail.

Under the law, the government will introduce two different licenses for cannabis cultivation – one for the production of medicines and another for other purposes, such as manufacturing hemp products, including clothing.

The legal changes concerning cannabis cultivation will take effect two years after the law comes into force. EFE

mca/bks/sc

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