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Japan: Parliament passes bill to legalize medical cannabis, but toughens ban on recreational use

Japan’s parliament has passed a bill to legalize cannabis-based medicines in a landmark revision of its stringent drug laws while toughening its ban on the recreational use of cannabis.

The changes to Japan’s cannabis and narcotics control laws passed on Wednesday in the upper house will pave the way for the lifting of a ban on medical products derived from cannabis.

Under the revised laws, which enter into force within a year from promulgation, cannabis, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive chemical found in the plant, are designated as narcotics to be regulated.

This is a win for patient groups that have campaigned for access to these medicines. However, the changes amount to a tightening of Japan’s already tough cannabis policy. Cannabis consumption was criminalized, closing a loophole that officials partly blamed for a recent rise in cannabis-related arrests.

Read more at: scmp.com

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