Is Cannabis legal in Japan?

Medical and recreational marijuana is illegal in Japan. In Japan, marijuana, along with other drugs, is a major voice that says marijuana should be banned.

However, at the same time, there are those who say that medical marijuana should be legalized considering the situation and effects of medical marijuana in other countries, and the Japanese government is moving forward in the direction of legalizing medical marijuana.

CBD products are legal in Japan, and many cafes have opened offering CBD oil and CBD-infused drinks.

In fact, Japan is one of the countries that has long had a close connection with marijuana. Although cannabis was banned as time progressed, there are still farmers and events that deal in hemp products.

Medical marijuana in Japan

As of 2023, medical marijuana is illegal in Japan.

However, the Japanese government is moving to legalize medical marijuana and has authorized clinical trials for Epidiolex in 2019. Although it is in the clinical trial stage, it is expected that the ban on medical marijuana will be lifted in Japan within a few years.

Marijuana is currently prohibited by law, but was it used in Japan prior to the enactment of the Cannabis Control Law?

Before the enactment of the Marijuana Control Law in 1948, marijuana was imported from the Middle East and other countries for use in the treatment of asthma.

Will Japan legalize marijuana?

According to Japan’s Marijuana Control Law, possession, sale, and cultivation of marijuana for recreational and medical purposes are illegal.

As noted above, the Japanese government is moving toward legalizing marijuana for medical use.

In Japan, the use of marijuana is considered a felony with a maximum penalty of up to seven years in prison. There is concern that lifting the ban on medical marijuana will make people less resistant to recreational marijuana and lead to more people abusing marijuana.

In fact, the rate of marijuana use among young people has been increasing in Japan in recent years, and more and more people are being arrested. Since the current Marijuana Control Law does not regulate “use,” the creation of a “use crime” to prevent abuse is being discussed.

Relationship between Japan and Hemp

Japan has long had deep ties with hemp products.

Hemp is believed to have been used for over 10,000 years and was used to make clothing, ropes, nets, and other tools.

Hemp is also considered sacred in Japanese religion and is often used in religious events. Even today, hemp is used as a sacred rope in shrines and for costumes used in Shinto rituals by the imperial family.

In 1948, the Marijuana Control Law was enacted and marijuana was banned in Japan.

However, opposition arose from hemp farmers because hemp cultivation, which is also a traditional Japanese industry, was banned.

Since then, industrial hemp with low THC content can be cultivated with a license.

CBD products are legal

CBD without THC is legal in Japan.

CBD is slowly gaining popularity in Japan due to its relaxing effects, and many products such as CBD oil, CBD gummies, and CBD liquid for vaping have been approved and are sold in stores.

In addition, juice stands and cafes offering CBD-infused drinks have opened, creating an environment where people can easily access CBD.

The Japanese CBD market is still small compared to the rest of the world, but according to a Japanese company that deals in CBD products, annual sales are growing at a rate of 100% per year.

There are some restrictions on CBD in Japan. Japan’s Cannabis Control Law makes flowers and leaves illegal, and only mature stems and seeds are exempt. The sale of CBD products made from mature stems and seeds is allowed.


We have introduced the marijuana situation in Japan. Both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are illegal in Japan. However, the Japanese government is conducting clinical trials of medical marijuana and is moving toward the legalization of medical marijuana. We can expect to see medical marijuana legalized in Japan in a few years.

Sales of CBD products are also increasing year by year, and this will be a big market in Asia.

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