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Ex-actress Saya Takagi gets suspended term for marijuana possession

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"but the court determined Thursday that they jointly possessed it."

I'm sure there is an unintentional pun in this sentence.

18 ( +21 / -3 )

In the bigger scheme of things this minor, but her point about using MJ for medical purposes is valid and the stiff necked types here in Japan need a puff or two to realize it!

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Seriously? 1 year? Just a tad bit over the top, I would say...

17 ( +17 / -0 )

If marihuana was legal Japan would be a better place.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Ban smoking but legalise MJ am I missing something here?

If MJ is really that good it should be compulsory. /sarcasm

-19 ( +0 / -19 )

Takagi advocated the legalization of marijuana for medical use

But big pharma, big tobacco and big alcohol will do whatever they can to keep legalization from happening.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Eventually Japan will follow America's lead like they do on everything, and make it legal for medical purposes

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Can see it now.

Guy lightx up after a meal for his medical fix but it ain't smoking.

Pharma could also extract the beneficial elements from MJ and sell them like nicotine badges or similar.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Victim-less crime! Who care what she does in her own home...such a stupid law than does more harm than good.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Eventually Japan will follow America's lead like they do on everything, and make it legal for medical purposes

Yeah, usually between 100-200 years later when they realize they are incapable of forming their own ideas...

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Victim-less crime! Who care what she does in her own home...such a stupid law than does more harm than good.

Exactly! Mo-tai-nai!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It's not a victim-less crime because it's illegal in so many countries. That means that people farming/processing it are probably victims of cartels, and the casualties that come from law enforcement officials (and their families) who are fighting those cartels and innocent people being caught up in that fight are also victims. I'm not opposed to MJ (don't do it myself), but to call it a victim-less crime is being ignorant to all of the possible effects and implications.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Whoever OKd sending a surveillance team from Tokyo to a remote Island to gather evidence on a cancer suffer and a retired actress for using a natural weed, well they need a sentence. Fiscal sence obviously not a strong point when spending tax payers money.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

If marihuana was legal Japan would be a better place.

I don't think there is any place on the planet that needs a toke or two the way Japan does...

11 ( +11 / -0 )

 Who care what she does in her own home...

And not just that but the fact that her house is in a remote island in the middle of nowhere and the fact they flew an entire crew of cops all the way from Tokyo to raid said house, just for MJ possetion. I honestly still can't understand how the law works in here...

11 ( +11 / -0 )

What message does this send? If you are famous you get off with a suspended sentence?

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

We're seeing Canada legalizing for recreational use for the whole country, and multiple American states legalizing for personal use, including the capitol, Washington DC. And yet Japan is still making this a national issue.

Japan is behind the times on this one.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

If you are famous you get off with a suspended sentence?

From what I understand, it has nothing to do with her being famous. Most people get off with a suspended sentence if they have no record.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The good thing about this is, the term medical marijuana (医療大麻) is being used on the news a lot with this story, which is probably the first time many Japanese will even have any idea that it can be used for medical purposes.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

her point about using MJ for medical purposes is valid and the stiff necked types here in Japan need a puff or two to realize it!

come on. she said she had pain from getting her wisdom tooth extracted. that's not really a valid point for smoking marijuana. cancer, aids epilepsy, ok, but not for wisdom teeth. take bufferin next time.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

In the bigger scheme of things this minor, but her point about using MJ for medical purposes is valid and the stiff necked types here in Japan need a puff or two to realize it!

Absolutely!

But big pharma, big tobacco and big alcohol will do whatever they can to keep legalization from happening.

That's the problem right there.  It would be legalized if  big pharma, big tobacco and big alcohol found a way to control the distribution and reap the profits.  This about the bottom line; nothing else.

Whoever OKd sending a surveillance team from Tokyo to a remote Island to gather evidence on a cancer suffer and a retired actress for using a natural weed, well they need a sentence. Fiscal sence obviously not a strong point when spending tax payers money.

Exactly.  This is our taxes they are squandering on their power trip.  Fair enough if they want to do a house raid in the middle of Shinjuku- but a remote island in the middle of nowhere?  Seriously?  They don't have any bigger fish to fry?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

come on. she said she had pain from getting her wisdom tooth extracted. that's not really a valid point for smoking marijuana. cancer, aids epilepsy, ok, but not for wisdom teeth. take bufferin next time.

Yes, take chemicals that benefit huge pharmaceutical companies rather than ingesting a plant that doesn't make them a yen.

Makes sense.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Takagi advocated the legalization of marijuana for medical use in her failed campaign for a House of Councillors seat in last July's election.

She lives on an island, has a nice tan and wants marijuana for medical use? Hawaii is the best place for her.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japans society and judiciary unwillingness to tolerate or continence the use of Cannabis, or any form of artificial hallucinogenic for recreational use could stem from a  pursuit for spiritual purity of thought and mind.

My friends harp on about Zen, Seishindo stress management etc. To be honest I found the whole theory a bit culty, however it might explain their expressions of shock horror when any mention is made for the medical use of Marijuana.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Meanwhile the government does sod all concerning tobacco smoking in public places and the effects of second hand smoking.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Stay on topic please.

Japan actually has a long history of MJ use, Shinto rituals used MJ extensively. It's purely due to Duepont paying lobby groups to outlaw a weed that trumps any chemical they can produce. Well they can sell other chemicals to counteract the effects of the first chemicals. Watched TV and they were talking about Medical marijuana and the host (70 year old man) actually said we don't need this herb because we can take chemicals. Education is a misnomer in Japan.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

It's not a victim-less crime because it's illegal in so many countries. That means that people farming/processing it are probably victims of cartels

The cartels form and make money because of the prohibition along with customer demand. As an example, the Kennedy family made their fortune during the liquor prohibition by smuggling alcohol from Canada to the U.S. Without the prohibition, the Kennedy cartel would never have existed.

When drugs are legalized, the profit incentives for the cartels go away because the drugs can be produced cheaper and closer to user, less users are incarcerated, and users of hard drugs are more likely to get treatment for their addition.

In this case, the MJ was probably grown on the island or somewhere very local. It was a crime without a victim.

US' federal laws against MJ originated because blacks were perceived to use it or distribute it. There were also several industries (oil, cotton, alcohol) that competed with MJ. Now, MJ is also competing with big Pharma because MJ is more effective and is cheaper than man made drugs.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

From what I know I think Japan has a long history of growing and using hemp but the personal consumption of cannabis was more restricted. Time for the country to consider decriminalizing it for small amounts and for personal use. But probably won't happen because of unfound fears about it.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I would trust the herb before anything from the pharmaseutical industry. Smoking the bud is a victimless crime. Time to legalize.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Poor thing.  Her humiliation is complete.  time for her to get married or do chariddy work or something

0 ( +2 / -2 )

US' federal laws against MJ originated because blacks were perceived to use it or distribute it. There were also several industries (oil, cotton, alcohol) that competed with MJ.

Those two points are actually directly related. There was a guy named William Hearst, who owned newspaper companies. He also owned companies that produced tree pulp, to which hemp (the same plant as marijuana) was a major competitor. So to drive out his competition, he started publishing articles that associated marijuana use with black people, then lobbied to have marijuana made illegal based on this. Hemp being the same plant, was caught up in this push for illegalization, resulting in the disappearance to his competition.

The really messed up thing is that in the US, marijuana is federally a schedule 1 narcotic. Heroin, cocaine, and amphetamine are schedule 2.

Hearst was a hell of a lobbyist.

Imagine that, a guy with a lot of money, who has a dislike of certain ethnic groups, using fear of those ethnic groups amongst the populace to further his business interests through political means. I feel like I've seen that somewhere, really recently.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Viking68

You may be right IF mj were legalized. But my point is if it is illegal and people buy/use it (ie there demand) then they're supporting a lot more than just a "harmless" high in their own home. By your reasoning, why don't we legalize cocaine if it rids the world of cartels?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Time to legalize.

Japan isn't ready for that yet. The priority for now should be to inform, demystify and destigmatise marijuana (pot in general) as well as occasional users. Ignorance and misinformation on the subject is the problem, health care professionals i.e docs wearing white/green scrubs and a stethoscope around their neck should be invited to the many silly tv panel shows telling ppl 'folks, there is a massive difference between cannabis/weed and crack cocaine, heroin, ice etc, let me explain."

4 ( +4 / -0 )

By your reasoning, why don't we legalize cocaine if it rids the world of cartels?

Yeah, we DON'T we. The cartels, as well as the crime brought on by junkies who are trying to support their habits that cost ridiculous amounts of money due to the cost the cartels apply, are both of much more harm to society than cocaine use itself.

So why don't we legalize it and get rid of the cartels? Can you answer your own question?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's not a victim-less crime because it's illegal in so many countries. That means that people farming/processing it are probably victims of cartels, and the casualties that come from law enforcement officials (and their families) who are fighting those cartels and innocent people being caught up in that fight are also victims.

I believe she was growing it herself. The drug affected no one other than those consenting adults who chose to consume it. There were no victims.

Being an avid gardener, I certainly would grow it myself if laws were different.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I have never seen anyone smoking cannabis/mj here in more than two decades while in laces like London you will see/smell people in public parks and even some night clubs. I'm always surprised when they bust someone here, how did they even know.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

By your reasoning, why don't we legalize cocaine if it rids the world of cartels?

Indeed, why don't we, and why don't we give it away.

The war on drugs was lost a long time ago and has only resulted in ruined peoples' lives.

The money spent on fighting drugs would have been better spent on treating users.

As unsavory as it may seem at first, the Netherlands gives away heroin and has almost eliminated public heroin addicts and crime from addicts. Almost no one under 40 uses heroin.

So, why don't we legalize MJ and quit prosecuting people for what amounts to a minor drug?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Isn't almost customary for TARENTTO and celebs to get suspended sentences!? Stevie wonder could have seen this outcome.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yes, take chemicals that benefit huge pharmaceutical companies rather than ingesting a plant that doesn't make them a yen.

This is kind of a silly semantic argument.  The things in marijuana that make you high (THC) is also a chemical, basically everything is a chemical.  Your body and consciousness exist because of chemical reactions.  Penicillin originates from tree mold.  A chemical is not magically superior because it was derived from the plant vs artificially. 

We just synthesize these things in a lab for efficiency sake.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Marijuana use and availability is much more common in Japan than the authorities would like to admit. It's pretty obvious their ridiculously severe penalties and brainwashed stigma of its use is not working. While the percentage of users is still quite small compared to other countries, it is prevalent and is not going anywhere.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The things in marijuana that make you high (THC) is also a chemical, basically everything is a chemical.

But unlike those that pharmaceutical companies sell, THC is naturally occurring chemical that grows naturally in a plant.

A chemical is not magically superior because it was derived from the plant vs artificially.

But when it's a plausible alternative, it's better than artificially created chemicals.

I'm not saying marijuana will cure cancer. But if you have pain, it's a preferable alternative to say ibuprofen.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A Japanese colleague of mine was going on about how dangerous marijuana is and how harmful to society, how it's the exact same as cocaine, etc. etc., this afternoon when we chatted about it and I just scoffed, and also pointed out that Japan has a history of using the plant for hemp purposes as well, and this his friend's name "Mr. Ohasa" can also have his characters read as "Mr. Taima", or "Mr. Weed", if you will. I asked him how he thought that family name might have come about. That little fun aside, I told him about how it has been used as medicine for a very long time, and how it is becoming more popular as a medicinal drug again now, with cases of people with severe Parkinson's being only able to stop shaking when they smoke it, or people with terminal diseases easing their pain and being able to develop an appetite. That, on top of the obvious fact that it is not a mind-altering drug like cocaine at all and is no worse than cigarettes (better for you, really), and far less damaging than alcohol, and he seemed to think a little... or maybe just entertain my talk.

At least THIS suspended sentence is as it should be... suspended. Should have been thrown out long ago, but this was clearly a witch hunt; the woman made her smoking too well known and they cracked down on it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Portugal HAD the worst drug addiction per capita in the EU, hence a high crime rate also, Portugal legalised all drugs from Pot to Herion, Today Portugal has the lowest drug addition per capita, One of the lowest crime rates in the EU. That could be due to drugs being legal ? The fact is it works, Look at the eager to condemn faces of those Journo, Allowing that poor women to be emiliated by bowing apoliglicly over such a stupid law. I bet those on looker have the last edition of Pedie Manga in their bag to read o the train home.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A chemical is not magically superior because it was derived from the plant vs artificially. 

The reverse is also true.

A chemical is not magically superior because it was derived artificially vs a plant.

And, I would argue with your statement. Sometimes plant and biologically created substances are superior and cannot be synthesized or are very difficult to synthesize with the same efficacy.

If the drug is created in a easy to grow plant, like a weed, and you don't need a multi-billion dollar lab to produce a partially effective drug with severe side effects that can and does kill people and is too expensive to be used by all the people who may need it.

That would be good, right?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Did anybody notice she was held for 3 months before going to trial?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I don't know if now, but my Japanese friend ( 70 now) got arrest for a small bag of pot ( 1st offence for anything ) and release 3 months later. He was 50 then. A few years later arrested again for a small bag of pot, release 6 months later. He still smoke today, Police leave him alone.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The THC can easily be extracted from the cannabis/MJ which is probably the best form for using in medicine since it can be taken without smoking. The THC can easily be synthesized these days but it produces stronger drugs which can also be addictive and mind wasting. Zombie weed.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What message does this send? If you are famous you get off with a suspended sentence?

Courts here have been pretty lenient, comparatively speaking, when it comes to cases like this. An American-expat in Okinawa got nailed with a hell of a lot more weed, and was growing it in his backyard, and received a suspended sentence.

Oh an he wasnt famous either, and got off too. So you tell me now, "What message does this send if an ordinary FOREIGNER no less, get off with a suspended sentence?"

Your comment here sounds silly to me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

DaDude,

"She lives on an island, has a nice tan and wants marijuana for medical use? Hawaii is the best place for her."

She used to to live in Hawaii, that's where she set her free diving record. But she and her partner at the time broke up and she moved back to Japan.

gogogoToday  09:12 am JST

"What message does this send? If you are famous you get off with a suspended sentence?"

I haven't looked into the statistics but I have seen lawyers and other experts on TV state that the vast majority of first time drug offenses that don't involve injury to others and such, result in a suspended sentence, regardless of the celebrity of the convicted.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

bonesToday  02:06 pm JST

"Isn't almost customary for TARENTTO and celebs to get suspended sentences!? Stevie wonder could have seen this outcome."

If it's their first offense, yes. But that's because nearly all first offenders get suspended sentences. (See my above comment.)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Legalize marijuana and ban tobacco. That will solve many problems at once.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Ban tobacco? Australia/NZ have tried that $30-$40 dollars a pack, now illegal tobacco has become a prime source of profit for organized crime, its a health issue if that, (choice) certainly not a criminal act. Ban Roses see what happens. Hell ban alcohol that worked.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What a rediculous law! How about the same law applied to cigarette smoking. Oops sorry I forgot, that brand of drug has no medicinal properties and kills millions of users and passive inhalers worldwide with enormous costs to countries health care systems but is backed by big business. An all natural plant which is 100% proven as an effective natural pain killer and can be grown in your back yard is illegal, but Tobacco which has zero benefit to anyone except the companies peddling it, is legal? Tells you something about how our lives are being governed...by crooks!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

To those going on about banning smoking but allowing MJ use is a contradiction of sorts - there are many ways to ingest cannabis, from tincture to edibles. Doesn't have to be smoking. Also, the same laws could apply to cannabis smoking to regulate it to one's property only.

Japan would benefit greatly from medical cannabis (and recreational, but lets be real about what's possible now) as the science clearly shows its benefits far outweigh the downsides.

However, the "mind expanding" element could be something the society doesn't want to creep in. Hells bells if people start to question the status quo around here.

I think this was a concerted effort to teach Ms. Takagi a lesson. She ran a political campaign to legalize this herb and the powers that be came down on her to smear her public image and "teach her a lesson" to keep her place and not bring up such "nonsense" in Japanese public discourse. Just my opinion. Why else does she get such a light sentence in a country notorious for not going well on these types of cases. They did it to scare her into shutting up about it mostly, I believe.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why else does she get such a light sentence in a country notorious for not going well on these types of cases.

From what I understand, a suspended sentence is the norm for a first time offender.

Though I believe that it's for the same reason as you stated for her - to scare them into not doing it again.

Which, while I don't agree with prosecuting people for personal drug use, is a responsible legal system I believe. For non-violent crimes, scaring someone on their first offense makes more sense than imprisoning everyone willy-nilly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Could have used a legal form of drug to ease tooth pain. I know many who self medicate with alcohol.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You could always move to my town where weed is legal

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You could always move to my town where weed is legal

Not any more. She's got a record now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All of this publicity for the outcome expected in the first place.  Once again the system proves itself that if your "someone" in Japan then the laws do not apply to you and only to the commoner, so what has changed in Japan over the last century?  The politicians, talent and everyone at the top get preferential treatment, the commoner gets prison.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Once again the system proves itself that if your "someone" in Japan then the laws do not apply to you and only to the commoner

Are you saying that she got a different sentence than a 'commoner' would have? From what I understand, she didn't. Do you have something to back up this hypothesis?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bjohnson23,

"The politicians, talent and everyone at the top get preferential treatment, the commoner gets prison."

do do you have a source that shows "commoners" do not tend to get suspended sentences for first time, simple possession or use of small quantities of marijuana. Cases that don't involve having huge quantities, dealing in the drug, causing a car wreck, or some other form of harming other people, etc?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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