Japan Bans Cannabis Gummies After Multiple Hospitalizations

Japan’s already strict marijuana laws just became stricter after some candies landed a bunch of people in the hospital.

Unseen Japan

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By Himari Semans

Cannabis gummies

Today the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) officially added cannabis-derived HHCH to Japan’s “designated drug” list. The move comes after a nationwide series of health incidents caused by consuming HHCH gummies last month.

A new drug law

The move comes after MHLW conducted on-site inspections last week in numerous cities, including Osaka where officials immediately halted sales at the manufacture and retail company WWE on the 20th.

A ban on the substance will come into effect next month on December 2nd, from thereon making it illegal to manufacture, sell, possess, use, purchase, and transfer HHCH under the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Laws.

Violators of the law are punishable by a maximum of three years in prison or a fine of up to ¥3 million ($20,000 USD) or both.

What is HHCH?

Cannabis gummies
Picture: Canva

HHCH, or hexahydrocannabihexol, is a synthetic substance with a structure like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC in marijuana that can cause hallucinations and memory impairment.

THC is subject to the Cannabis Control Law and other regulations. On the other hand cannabidiol (CBD), a less harmful component of marijuana, is not. Japan’s CBD market is set to expand as forecasts predict it to reach more than ¥80 billion ($600 million USD) by 2025.

Marijuana has been banned in Japan since the end of World War II, a lasting consequence of the Allied occupation. Many in the country still use the drug, leading to the occasional over-the-top prevention campaign.

Shifts in law and market

Talks to regulate HHCH sped up this week when MHLW officials held an emergency expert panel on Tuesday.

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