This week, Japan has announced that it will no longer ban medical cannabis products. The good news has, however, been met by fears by stakeholders. They feel the regulators may stop at lifting the ban on medical products made with CBD and not legalize other products like foods and cosmetics.
As per Yosuke Koga, the Director at Japanese hemp company Prossimo, this phenomenon could lead to big pharma companies controlling the market that only favours medical cannabis.
Earlier this week, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced its lifting of the ban on cannabis based medical products. CBD manufacturers and sellers can now get government licenses to produce and sell their products in the country. The announcement by the ministry comes amidst an emergency request and after the advisory of an expert panel looking into cannabis issues.
According to Koga, the new changes could prepare for the entry of Epidiolex, a high CBD drug that is approved by the US Foods and Drug Administration into the Japanese market. Two years ago, Japan accepted Epidiolex for clinical trials.
Stakeholders like Koga are rooting for the government to go a step higher and appreciate the difference between THC laden Marijuana and hemp. Koga says that if the country legalizes hemp CBD foods and cosmetics, there will be massive opportunities for the hemp industry.
Notably, the country’s cannabis regulations are based on the processed parts of the plants rather than the THC content. Only extracts from the stems and seeds are currently approved.
Despite all the fears, Koga appreciates the move to lift the ban to be in the direct direction. He said that it at least depicts the interest by the Health Ministry to reconsider marijuana definition in the country.