If you need a startling example of marijuana’s taboo cultural standing in Japan, look no further. For the first time in recorded history, more Japanese have used marijuana than abused paint thinner or other inhalants.
The Center surveyed 5,000 people between the ages of 15-64 during the fall of 2017. They drew nearly 3,000 respondents and extrapolated that number to an estimated 1,331,765 habitual and non-habitual cannabis users using population ratio and various factors. The estimated number represents an increase of about 380,000 compared to the previous survey, which has taken place every other year since 1995. Of the survey respondents, 1.4 percent admitted to trying marijuana, up 0.4 percent from earlier data.
Japan’s government has made a concerted effort to curtail usage of kiken drugs, or dangerous drugs, reports the Japan Times. Kiken drugs produce effects analogous to narcotics and stimulants. Because of government focus on kiken drugs, authorities believe that it’s raised marijuana usage.
There are concerns that young people in particular are susceptible to using marijuana sheerly out of curiosity, with some believing it less harmful than other types of drugs.
According to the survey, 2.3 to 5.0 percent of teenagers and people in their 20s and 30s said using marijuana is fine if it is “just a small amount” and view it as a matter of “individual freedom,” far exceeding the ratio for those in their 40s to 60s who gave the same answers.
Also, more than 3 percent of respondents in their 20s and 30s said they had faced situations in which other people tempted them to use marijuana.
Earlier this month The Fresh Toast reported that Japan had approved its first marijuana-related advertising. The train station billboard promoted Elixinol Hemp Oil, which contained pure CBD extract. Hemp isn’t so taboo in Japan and CBD isn’t illegal on the federal level.
But authorities also believe that cannabis legalization efforts internationally have affected locals. Canada just officially legalized recreational cannabis and sales will begin later this fall. More than half of the states in the U.S. have legalized some form of cannabis and residents in Uruguay can grow their own marijuana.