Japan Making Changes to Hemp Legislation with New Amendment

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Japan is amending a piece of hemp legislation which will help expand rules regarding hemp but would restrict cannabis regulation.

The country of Japan considers cannabis to be illegal. Recently, the House of Representatives for the nation approved an amendment which would expand hemp rules but limit cannabis regulation (1). Through the backed amendment, a provision was included which may allow production of medical-grade cannabinoids and restrict products that have originated from the industrial hemp plant and not cannabis, according to HempToday (1).

Logistics of the legislation are still being figured out. One example is whether imports and sales of over-the-counter extracts, as well as other items such as cannabidiol (CBD) made from hemp flowers or other cannabinoids will be accepted (1).


As reported in HempToday (1) the organization mentions that “Under current Japanese rules, only products made from hemp seeds or stalks are legal, but that has not prevented the development of a CBD retail market estimated at more than $60 million, as enforcement agencies have turned a blind eye to a growing gray market for products produced from hemp flowers.”

The CBD industry in Japan is thought to consist of more than 150 companies. This includes physical retail stores, products which may have been sold online, importers, and distributors (1). HempToday mentions that producers and sellers like to label their goods as being produced from hemp stalks when they were really created from the flower (1).

If officially signed into law, would help benefit cannabinoid companies such as GW Pharmaceuticals, who makes medical CBD and is a unit of Jazz Pharmaceuticals which is based out of Ireland (1). The CBD company held clinical trials in Japan for their medical product called Epidiolex, which contains a high concentration of CBD (1). Epidiolex is a drug used in the US and Europe for treating pediatric epilepsy patients diagnosed with Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes (1).

Included in this amendment, the cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), would be labeled as a narcotic, as well as the law would impose drug legislations that would crack down on the cultivation of cannabis, importing and exporting of cannabis goods, and having possession of cannabis products (1).


  1. HempToday. Changes in Japan Likely to Limit Cannabinoid Production to Medical Hemp Only (accessed Nov 30, 2023).