Japan has always had a fairly lax attitude towards marijuana and probably only criminalized it because of pressure from America. Unlike speed （覚醒剤）it’s not a crime to use it, only to possess it. Basically, the implication in the law is that smoking marijuana probably doesn’t do much to a person and is unlikely to turn them into a menace to society. I’m not really sure why the law was written this way but it sort of makes sense. Often the prosecution won’t charge someone caught possessing a small amount of marijuana but then again, you can still get arrested for having it.
I was drinking with a retired cop from the drug enforcement division a week ago and he had an interesting story about one perp who knew the flaw in the law almost well-enough to avoid arrest. Detective X was questioning the suspect when he found a plastic bag of marijuana in the man’s backpack–he showed it to the perp, who immediately grabbed the bag, and stuffed the contents into his mouth. Detective X relays the rest of the story like this.
“I was kind of pissed. Personally, I think marijuana is a benign drug but the law is the law and it’s my job to enforce it. But I’ve got this guy, who by eating the dope, now suddenly doesn’t possess it any more. Once it is in his gut–it’s gone. I’ve been outsmarted. But I’m looking at the face of the perp and his cheeks are full of marijuana and I can see he’s having trouble swallowing it. So I shrug my shoulders, and turn around and walk away and as soon as I do that, he walks a few steps and spits it on the ground–at which point I run back and say, ‘Hey, I saw you spit that out and that’s your dope! You’re under arrest for violations of the marijuana control laws, pal’. Admittedly scooping up the half-chewed marijuana and putting it in the plastic bag was a little nasty but I got my man and made my case. I think the perp got fined and that was that. So, I guess if you do think you’re going to get caught with marijuana the best things you can do is eat it if you don’t have time to flush it down the toilet. Of course, that also means you should probably never have more to smoke than you can eat at any given time. If you’re a foreigner, a really bad idea–probably get kicked out of the country even if you don’t go to jail. By the way, also if you fail to eat all the stuff–you could also be arrested or charged for obstruction of justice and/or destroying evidence–so if you really want to smoke the stuff, best to go to Holland.”
I also have to say, I’m also not advocating getting stoned in Japan either. Not worth the risk . However, it is kind of curious that it isn’t a crime to use marijuana to get high, but only to possess it. It ranks among other mysterious laws in Japan such as the Prostitution Prevention Law which makes prostitution illegal but sets no punishments for the prostitute or the customer.
Personally, as I struggle with nicotine cravings I’ve found the only thing I want to smoke are Orion’s Cocoa Cigarettes–such chocolately goodness and in a convenient neo-cigarette shape. Mmmm…..almost as good as the real thing. If only they’d add a little nicotine to the mix, I’d be completely happy.