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Panel recommends allowing ‘cannabis-based’ medicines on the market; Report

The use of cannabis-based medications should be allowed, according to a panel from the health ministry who made the recommendation on Thursday, potentially heralding a historic shift in the nation’s strict drug laws. The change will not affect Japan’s zero-tolerance policy on marijuana use for recreational purposes because the group actually suggested tightening laws on marijuana use for non-medical purposes.

The severe anti-cannabis laws of Japan have claimed victims from abroad, notably Beatle Paul McCartney, who was imprisoned for nine days in 1980 when the drug was found in his luggage. The government has been discussing, meanwhile, whether to permit the use of cannabis-based medicines, which are already utilised in many other countries to treat conditions including severe epilepsy.

The expert group for the health ministry recommended on Thursday that the government amend the laws to allow for the import and manufacture of drugs formulated with chemicals derived from cannabis. But it also pushed for tighter regulations to make it clear that using cannabis recreationally is against the law.

By doing this, a security hole that was created to prevent farmers from getting arrested for smoking marijuana while growing hemp for items like rope would be closed. The recommendation comes as goods containing cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating component of cannabis, gain popularity in Japan and abroad.


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