At long last, one year later than initially planned, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics shall soon be upon us. And between the restrictions on spectator turnout and medical controls to avoid the spread of COVID, a number of stealthy moves are afoot to cater to the Orinpikku tokuju (special demand created by the Olympics), Friday (July 9) reveals.
One of these is large-scale cultivation of marijuana, which the magazine alleges will be surreptitiously supplied to athletes, coaches and other 18,000 residents of the Olympic Athlete's Village. As shown in an accompanying photo, plants with the characteristic leaf shape of cannabis sativa are being cultivated inside a specialized container somewhere in the greater Kanto area. Arrays of photosynthesis lamps serve as substitutes for sunshine, with air circulation and irrigation also controlled on a round-the-clock basis.
According to the photo caption, even when cultivated indoors, marijuana growth is affected by the rainy season, and harvest of the current crop is expected to be delayed by about one week.
A second photo explains that the processed leaves sell for between 2,500 to 3,500 yen per gram at wholesale, with a street price of around 9,000 yen per gram.
Friday's reporter made contact with a Mr A, who is readying shipments of locally grown locoweed.
"During the Olympic Games, we're expecting sales to be up by tenfold that of a normal year," he tells the magazine. "I can't comment on how our group's organized, but sellers are looking at a windfall of about 12 million yen per person. The buyers will mostly be foreign athletes from Europe and North America, especially the most privileged and popular ones.
"All I'm saying now is that we've already lined up a sale to members of a men's softball team," he added, saying that athletes who undergo mandatory doping tests normally test positive for marijuana use from one to four days after smoking it.
"So I suppose they'll space their usage to the days between games," says A.
In ordinary times, A's customers are Japanese, but he plans to deal with foreign athletes exclusively while the Games are in progress.
"The biggest advantage to dealing with foreign athletes is that we'll be able to sell low-quality weed at high prices," he says. "Since they're only here to compete, they won't complain even if they're dissatisfied. And we don't have to worry about nurturing repeat business, since they'll have left soon enough."
According to A, to boost their output tenfold, some suppliers laid out about 1 million yen for new equipment and facilities.
"We started from last November," he relates. "At present in the Tokyo metropolis our members are raising weed in three indoor rooms, and in five concealed containers located in the suburbs, as well as in hilly spots in rural districts.
"We imported photosynthesis lamps from the U.S., and also procured compost and fertilizer, and air purifiers. The most difficult thing has been managing irrigation. Marijuana plants are easily infected by blight, so we obtained cloning dome kits, to control water quality," says A.
A tells the magazine that the two factors by which authorities are able to detect and shut down illegal marijuana cultivation are irregular boosts in electrical power usage ("we urge growers to do what they can to keep their charges to under 30,000 yen per month") and suspicious neighbors who report on them ("people are advised to exchange greetings with neighbors, and also air out their facilities very early in the morning, when few people are out and about who might notice the characteristic smell").
Since A's consortium is by no means the only one involved in pot production and sales, Friday supposes that if competition heats up or if dissatisfied foreign customers turn on the brokers, there's always a chance that trouble with the law might be looming.© Japan Today