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Droves of Japanese heading overseas to get high on pot

22 Comments

During the string of consecutive national holidays and weekends between Sept 17 and Sept 25 -- a period referred to as "Silver Week" -- large numbers of young Japanese headed for Thailand. 

Many of them headed for Khaosan Road, a street once was originally popularized by foreign backpackers and described by a Thai writer as "...a short road that has the longest dream in the world,."

Along Khaosan Road, Spa (Oct 4) reports, marijuana can be found being sold openly on the street, and in the area's nightclubs the fumes of smoldering cannabis sativa waft through the air.

It seems that the previous June 9, Thailand removed marijuana from the government's list of banned substances.

"While Thailand is the first country in Asia to legalize use of marijuana, at present it's restricted to medical use," said Roland Park, a self-described "coordinator" who has resided in Bangkok for 11 years. "However, the news has reported that 3,000 people who were currently serving jail terms for possession or cultivation of cannabis have been released from custody, and the overall mood is that it's about to be decriminalized. The general view interprets this as a social experiment."

Park added that that purveyors of foods and beverages who lace their offerings with CBD (Cannabidiol oil, which is also legal in Japan) have also increased.

"The word has been spreading rapidly via social networks, so people have become familiarized with the drug," said Park.

Some Japanese corporate workers on assignment to Thailand aren't particularly happy with this development, and have voiced concerns that its availability might create problems for their dependent children.

"An Italian pizza shop where I often took my family began serving marijuana pizza from last July," said one such expatriate worker. "After that, more raucous Europeans and Americans began coming, so we gave up eating there. But now ramen shops and Korean restaurants have been offering similar dishes. It reminds me of the boom in tapioca tea drinks in Japan several years back. Places serving marijuana have been sprouting up like bamboo shoots after a rain storm."

In addition to Thailand, Spa also reviews the marijuana scenes in other popular overseas destinations, including Canada ("sold in stylish shops, and sales by online stores are increasing rapidly"); Los Angeles and New York City ("will legal sales of marijuana in the U.S. surpass $30 billion by 2025?"); and the Pacific island tourist destinations of Guam and Saipan ("marijuana expected to bring a rush of visitors in the wake of the COVID pandemic. The welcome mat is out for Japanese tourists"). 

Spa, inquiring to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, asked: Is there any possibility that Japanese who smoke marijuana abroad be arrested upon their return to Japan?

"There are a number of means by which violators can be punished for smoking outside the country," the official replied sternly. "These are handled on a case-by-case basis. From our standpoint, as the ministry entrusted with safeguarding the health of citizens, the harmful effects of marijuana are widely known, and we are making efforts to urge Japanese who travel abroad to refrain from smoking it."

Hisashi Sonoda, professor emeritus at Konan University and an attorney at law, pointed out that "The warning issued by the Japanese government about smoking overseas is based on interpretation that those who violate the law banning cannabis while abroad can be prosecuted. However, Article 24 of the Cannabis Control Law stipulates, "Marijuana may not be cultivated or possessed without authorization, which can also be interpreted as 'violating the law in the host country.' So in situations where the 'without authorization' stipulation does not apply -- as is the case in countries where cannabis is legal -- we should consider that legal use of cannabis in such countries does not constitute a violation of Japanese law." 

Sonoda warns, however, that the police might choose to pursue those who post irresponsibly on SNS or show videos in a manner construed as promoting use of marijuana.

"Upon returning from abroad, one can't rule out the possibility that people who smoked overseas might be arrested or detained," Sonoda warned. "So one should not act rashly."

© Japan Today

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
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Make sure don't bring back to Japan even just a little bit otherwise will face legal problem.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Like, duuuuuuude

7 ( +10 / -3 )

 the harmful effects of marijuana are widely known

Really? Pray tell.

Medical marijuana edibles would be a godsend to Japan. In the meantime, Japan will continue with its ubiquitous - and far more damaging - shochu and cigarettes.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

During the string of consecutive national holidays and weekends between Sept 17 and Sept 25 -- a period referred to as "Silver Week" -- large numbers of young Japanese headed for Thailand. 

Please define "large number" and "young", as with the current pile-up of crises (COVID, living expenses increase, inflation, Yen in free fall, etc) it is pretty difficult (at least to me) to picture (especially young) people having enough money to travel anywhere inland or abroad...

7 ( +10 / -3 )

A few puffs would really help my anxiety and lower back pain.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

If you roll up at Narita reeking of pot or excite the drugs dog, and you still have it in your system, I wouldn't be surprised if you got nicked (local) or deported (tourist). Even if you were arriving from somewhere that it was legal.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Eh, I think marijuana is overhyped.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The ministry of health's main concern is not public health at all; it is doing the bidding of the doctors. If they thought they could make a quid out of it the laws in Japan would change and all the laughable rhetoric too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They are guessing people are heading to Thailand for the pot. We travel to Thailand and not for the pot.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Upon returning from abroad, one can't rule out the possibility that people who smoked overseas might be arrested or detained," Sonoda warned. "So one should not act rashly."

That's insane. Japan behaving more and more like N.Korea and the CCP.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

These people need to get off their high horses. Marijuana is a plant and has been used for medicinal purposes for decades. The effects of getting high on weed is no more dangerous or a threat to society than alcohol or tobacco. How absolutely hypocritical of Japan to be condemning people for smoking pot overseas and threatening to detain them upon their return when their own society has a very unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Less people in Japan would have a stick up where the sun don't shine if they just stop whingeing about how marijuana is the devil incarnate and let the people have some edibles.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Good on em

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Fools

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Do your Job. Sonova...

"There are a number of means by which violators could be punished for extortion inside the country," the official replied sternly. "These are handled on a case-by-case basis. From our standpoint, as the ministry entrusted with safeguarding the health of citizens, the harmful effects of cults are widely known, and we are making efforts to urge Japanese who buy what cult groups are selling, to refrain from smoking it."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Laguna:

 "the harmful effects of marijuana are widely known..."

Really? Pray tell.

Cannabis industry advocates and individuals who use cannabis medicinally have emphasized cannabis use to achieve well-being and to cease use of other harmful substances (like opioids) (Barcott 2016; Dutcher 2018; Stukin 2019). On the other hand, prevention, treatment, and public health professionals have expressed concerns about widespread acceptance of a substance that can be addictive and that has been associated with a range of health risks, including increased dependence on and potential use of other substances (National Academy of Sciences 2017; Crocker et al. 2021; Hall 2018).

(https://jcannabisresearch.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42238-022-00143-y#:~:text=Conclusion,%25%20report%20cannabis%2Donly%20use.)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Laguna:

Medical marijuana edibles would be a godsend to Japan. In the meantime, Japan will continue with its ubiquitous - and far more damaging - shochu and cigarettes.

A majority of adults with past month cannabis use are also consuming other substances (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, other drugs); 9.4% of the general population have past month use of cannabis and other substances, whereas less than 1% report cannabis-only use. 

(https://jcannabisresearch.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42238-022-00143-y#:~:text=Conclusion,%25%20report%20cannabis%2Donly%20use.)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Duudes, the bong won't fix your troubles!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I hear it helps people control their pain. Both mental and physical.

Why is that a bad thing?

I don't have any issues yet. But if I did, I would not appreciate faceless bureaucrats telling me when and how I choose to control my pain. The plant grows naturally. It was put here by nature for such purposes.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I still think that getting high on marijuana is over rated. By the way, over here, now, at concerts, not so much weed smoke, because people have mostly switched to edible marijuana. At the recent Willie Nelson concert it seemed like most people were high, but there was no smell of smoke.

Just saying, it seems like edibles have largely replaced smoking weed as a way to get high. It is much cheaper, and easier to control the dosage.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Places serving marijuana have been sprouting up like bamboo shoots after a rain storm."

Hmm. Bamboo culms sprout year round in Thailand?

I didn't know that

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I mean you can find it in japan without much effort or at least smell it. Heck Japans the only place I’ve seen someone do a handful of coke in the middle of a crowded ferry and no one batted an eye.

I guess if your so used to no drugs in Japan rhetoric it doesn’t register when people do them in your face lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"...the harmful effects of marijuana are widely known..."

Nah, it's widely known they are made up. I mean, in Japan marijuana is in the same class as cocaine and heroin, and THAT is widely known to be BS. If Japan were honestly concerned about the health and welfare of its citizens, they'd ban shops from selling alcohol after 2:00 a.m. or so, and force bars and restaurants to not serve to already inebriated customers. The rate of alcoholism in this nation is freakishly high, and it destroys ones health and often ends up with accidents that kill others, and is FAR worse than anything marijuana could cause. They should AT LEAST start considering the use of marijuana for medical purposes in Japan -- and I mean LEGIT purposes, like calming down people who have severe tremors from Parkinson's, or those who cannot eat or drink due to the pain of cancer and whom marijuana gives them an appetite.

I've smoked marijuana quite a few times in high school all the way to uni, but it was never really my thing. My roomies were HUGE into it, but I just didn't like the lethargy and forgetfulness it brought on. My roommates, on the other hand, said they hated seeing me devolve as I drank more and more alcohol. So, to each their own -- my point is only marijuana is not the boogieman, and there are far worse substances that are legal here and elsewhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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