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Japan’s ‘Huge Milestone’ as Tokyo Moves Ahead With Cannabis Reform

Japan’s ‘Huge Milestone’ as Tokyo Moves Ahead With Cannabis Reform

Japan has officially launched a public comment period for its landmark cannabis reform bill, offering new details on how its nascent cannabis industry will look over the coming months.

Ben Stevens

1 June 2024 at 07:00:00

This report first appeared in the Business of Cannabis on 30 May 2024.


On May 30 2024, the Japanese government announced that it would now be accepting public comments from interested parties on five measures of a new cannabis bill.


Most notably, the preliminary proposals suggest that Japan is seeking to forgo the complex and lengthy Novel Foods process for CBD products, and could become the first country to approve CBD in food.


Yves Antoniazzi, Managing Director of Astrasana Holding AG, one of the few international companies to have a foothold in the Japanese CBD market, said: “We have been waiting a long time for this. It is a huge milestone for the global cannabis industry. Japan is the first country to approve CBD in food, paving the way for corporate companies to list CBD products in retail chains.”


What happened?


Late last year, Japan made a major step towards cannabis reform after approving a bill to amend its 75-year-old Cannabis Control Act.


After passing the bill in November, the Japanese authorities have been ironing out the details of these reforms, and the industry has been poised for an announcement from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) laying out the new framework.


The public comment period, which will last until June 13 or 29, offers medical professionals and CBD businesses the opportunity to examine the draft order and voice their concerns before a final decision is made and the amendments can be enacted.


Opinions are now being solicited on five topics, including law enforcement, THC analysis methods, the development of related laws and regulations, and first and second-class cultivation license reviews.


As previously reported, the bill is set to amend a few key measures which could enable the country’s CBD and medical cannabis industries to flourish.


Primarily, while Japan already has a booming CBD industry, it currently only allows products with no trace THC. This is expected to change, and initial reports suggest this could rise to 0.3%.

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