The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan is willing to approve the use of pharmaceuticals containing cannabis as an ingredient. The decision comes after months of discussion, according to the Japanese media NHK News, and it would mean opening the possibility to use medicinal cannabis in the manufacturing of medicines and derivatives.
This way, a legislation that would lift the ban on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is being prepared This legislation is proposed through a committee of the ministry, formed at the beginning of the year and whose task is to study the effectiveness of cannabis-based preparations and drugs, so as to establish a regulation for patients in the country.
This advance has been announced by the commission of the ministry, referring to the existing international regulatory context, in which “countries like the United States already allow its use in patients with chronic pain, refractory epilepsy or cancer patients.” In this case the regulation would be restricted to preparations and extracts derived from cannabis, without taking into account other parts of the unprocessed plant such as hearts.
This way, cannabis would not be decriminalized in all its applications and its use would only be allowed in specific medical conditions.. Currently, the Japanese cannabis control law prohibits the use and import of cannabis-based medicines, so this new draft law would have to modify the current one, allowing both the import of drugs from other countries and national production to Japanese pharmaceutical manufacturers with specific licenses.
On the other hand, in the case of recreational use and in response to abuse mainly by young people, the Ministry plans to increase the penalties. Currently the cannabis possession and cultivation is already a crime, and it would be contemplated to amend the Cannabis Control Law so that its simple use (smoking) is considered a “misdemeanour”.
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