Four cannabis plants were discovered on the office building grounds of Japan’s Upper House lawmakers.
In a country with the world’s most draconian cannabis laws, and where adults who have experimented with cannabis surpassed those who abuse paint thinner for the first time, you wouldn’t expect marijuana plants growing unnoticed anywhere in Japan. So just picture the reaction when a crop of marijuana was found growing in Nagatacho, the Japanese equivalent of America’s Capitol Hill.
According to the Japan Times, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Staff confirmed Thursday that the reports were true. Four cannabis plants were discovered on the office building grounds of Japan’s Upper House lawmakers. Masahiro Hirai, an official with the health and welfare bureau of the metropolitan government, corroborated the story and added that the marijuana plants have since been removed.
How did the marijuana plants arrive there? Reports indicate the plants were around one to two months old, but were they sprouting naturally or the result of sneaky mastermind with a green thumb? The Tokyo bureau isn’t ruling out any possibility, but their explanation is rather interesting.
[The Tokyo bureau] believes “the probability is higher that the plants were just growing naturally,” the official said, adding that it’s not entirely impossible that marijuana seeds landed there after being carried by the wind or being eaten and then defecated by birds. But such cases are rather rare, especially given Japan’s stringent anti-cannabis law prohibiting the unlicensed cultivation of marijuana.
“Because of our strict license system regarding marijuana cultivation, it’s not like the seeds fly around and sprout constantly,” Hirai added.
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Under Japanese law, someone caught possessing marijuana is subject to up to five years in prison. while being charged with cannabis cultivation carries a possible seven-year prison sentence. So marijuana cultivation isn’t exactly an extracurricular activity in which many Japanese participate. Officials reported only four cases of marijuana removal, a total of 44 plants, in fiscal 2017.
“At this point, we can’t completely deny that someone was deliberately trying to cultivate marijuana there, so we’re looking into that possibility, too,” Hirai said.