Japan may ease medical marijuana stance

Japan may ease medical marijuana stance

Health panel recommends revising tough drug laws to allow imports of approved products

A worker inspects cannabis leaves at the Rak Jang farm, one of the first to receive permission from the Thai government to grow cannabis and sell products to medical facilities, in Nakhon Ratchasima, in March this year. (Reuters File Photo)
A worker inspects cannabis leaves at the Rak Jang farm, one of the first to receive permission from the Thai government to grow cannabis and sell products to medical facilities, in Nakhon Ratchasima, in March this year. (Reuters File Photo)

TOKYO: A Japanese health ministry panel on Thursday recommended revising the country’s drug laws to allow for the import and use of medicinal marijuana products.

The recommendation was based on meeting medical needs and to harmonise Japan with international standards, the committee said in a report.

The revision would apply to marijuana products whose safety and efficacy were confirmed under laws governing pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Japan has very strict laws banning the import, production and use of illicit substances. The committee’s report noted that only 1.4% of people in Japan had ever used marijuana, compared to 20-40% in Western countries.

Revision of the law would be necessary for the use of the cannabis-derived epilepsy drug Epidiolex, which is currently undergoing clinical trials in Japan, the report said.


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