Big in Japan: Home to the best homegrown

Let’s be ‘blunt’ for a moment…

While Gadling does not in any capacity promote the smoking of copious amounts of ganja, a good number of us know that sometimes you need a little toke of Mother Nature’s sweet, sweet herb to get you through day.

Of course, wrapping your salivating lips around a hand-blown glass water pipe packed to the brim with Pineapple Express is something of a difficult proposition in Japan, especially since there are some incredibly Draconian drug laws on the books here.

While a good number of people in North America and Europe tend to have a relaxed attitude towards smoking a bit of reefer from time to time, the Japanese are extremely averse to drugs of any kind.

Indeed, all of us resident foreigners here in Japan are used to hearing that drug use is something of ‘Western problem.’

Or so we were led to believe (^_^)

According to a recent report by the Associated Press (AP), it seems that a good number of Japanese have been tuning in and dropping out, thanks to the easy availability of marijuana seeds on the Internet for home cultivation.

Ah so! The plot begins to thicken…

According to a public report that was recently released by the Japanese National Police Agency, the number of marijuana cases in the first half of the year rose 12 percent from the same period last year to 1,202. If this rate of increase continues, the number of cases will reach an all-time high this year, passing the 2,288 recorded in 2006.

Compared to amphetamines and other synthetic stimulants such as ecstasy, marijuana police cases are still very, very low, especially in comparison to other countries. However, police are attributing the rise in marijuana toking to the increasing prevalence of Japanese homegrown.

In the immortal words of the rapper Styles P: ‘I don’t smoke the weed if it ain’t purple or blue.’

So what’s the loophole? Good question.

While Japanese law doesn’t exactly make for light reading, the gist is that people are prohibited from growing or possessing marijuana for recreational drug use, though seeds are excluded from the law. Capitalizing on this ambiguity, Japanese web sites are quick to state that they are selling marijuana seeds ‘only for research, food or collecting.’

Yummy. I loves me some pot seed brownies…

In a country consumed by fickle trends and fads, it seems that Japan as of recent may be suffering from a bit of reefer madness.

Last month, a government worker was arrested after police raided his personal marijuana greenhouse in western Japan. In May, customs officers at Tokyo Narita International Airport misplaced US$10,000 worth of hash after it had been slipped illegally into a random traveler’s luggage in a failed attempt to test the noses of the canine sniffers.

And…let’s not forget about all those Harajuku girls decked out from head to toe in hemp-based fabrics, which have a long history in Japan as traditional clothing.

In the immortal words of Jon Stewart, the enhancement smoker from the movie Half Baked: ‘Have you ever seen (Japan)….on weed?! That’s the way to see it. It’s just wacked.’

** All images courtesy of the WikiCommons Media Project, and NOT from my non-existent personal collection of homegrown herb and associated paraphernalia **