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Law Japan’s crackdown on hemp and CBD


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
The Time with a piece on Japan's legal crackdown on hemp and cannabidiol-based products:

The recent developments in Japan's narcotics laws have cast uncertainty over the future of its burgeoning CBD market. Last year, the government introduced revisions to clarify the previously ambiguous legislation on narcotics. As the details of these reforms are being deliberated, with draft regulations open for public consultation until 29 June, there is a growing concern about the impact on the nation's thriving trade in cannabis-based goods. The proposed enforcement measures aim to impose stringent limits on the THC content permissible in legal CBD products, targeting the compound responsible for cannabis's intoxicating effects.

While regulating THC limits for hemp and CBD products is common practice around the world—it's capped at 0.3% in some U.S. states, for example—Japan's proposed new cap of 0.001% for oils (and even lower for beverages and products in other forms) has been slammed by advocates and experts as unrealistic and likely a death knell for Japan's CBD industry, effectively banning the substance altogether, as some regional neighbors like China have recently moved to do. "If this goes through, I would say … 90% of the businesses will go out of business," Toshiki Inoue, the founder of cannabis brand Chillaxy, tells TIME, adding that "close to none" of the CBD products being sold in Japan will be able to adhere to the 0.001% THC limit. The proposed rules could go into effect as early as October, and the potential dramatic shift has rattled players in Japan's rapidly growing CBD industry, which has grown sixfold between 2019 and 2023 from a market size of 4 billion JPY to 24 billion JPY (more than USD150 million).

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