MAINICHI SHIMBUN URGES STRICTER CANNABIS CONTROL
A leading Japanese newspaper has urged the Japanese government to be strict in implementing the Cannabis Control Act as the Ministry of Justice admitted that arrests have by 20% from 2018 to 4,570 the following year, with people in their 20s comprising 40%, while those under 20 made up over 10%, a big leap from the previous year.
In the first half of 2020, the Mainichi Shimbun editorial for November 30, 2020 said the number of young people who were apprehended for violating the cannabis law exceeded the figure for the same period the previous year, showing that the situation is getting worse.
“Many start using marijuana out of curiosity. One contributing factor is erroneous information available on the internet saying that marijuana is harmless. There is research showing that 80% of those apprehended for suspected violation of the Cannabis Control Act thought that there were no dangers or not many dangers linked to marijuana use. It has become easier for young people to procure marijuana. It is said that there are many cases in which people learn how to obtain the drug through websites and online posts,” the editorial stressed.
Marijuana use can cause hallucinations, as well as memory problems and difficulty concentrating. There are some reports that it can lead to psychiatric disorders and reproductive abnormalities. It is also referred to as a "gateway drug." The concern is that marijuana use can serve as a gateway to other, more potent drugs, leading to serious drug addiction. Half of stimulant users have had experience using marijuana, and there are a striking number of people who started using before they became adults.
“We must beef up our efforts to disseminate information on the dangers of marijuana. As there have been cases of junior and senior high school students using marijuana, it will be important to teach the dangers of drugs in schools. There are other countries where marijuana possession and use is conditionally exempt from punishment, but that does not mean that they are denying the harmful effects of marijuana,” the editorial concluded.