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Japan: Cannabis Laws

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Under Japan's Cannabis Control Law, possession of even small amounts of marijuana can garner a five-year prison sentence, and selling it can earn up to seven years. There is no formal sanction for consumption, but the Health Ministry pointed out that people smoking together can and have been charged with joint possession. (No pun intended.) Source


Consequences for Cannnabis Control LAW violations
March 30, 2008

In Japan, if arrested for any quantity of cannabis for possession, cultivation or traffic the suspect will be detained immediately and confined until the trial and sentencing hearing and for the duration of subsequent servitude.

Once detained the suspect can expect relentless questioning as to where the cannabis was obtained, when you were first introduced to cannabis and subsequent use. The suspect will be asked to provide dates, times, names of people you smoked with and specifics of each instance you have came in contact with cannabis.

After being arrested you will meet the prosecutor to review your case, explain why you have been detained and explain your rights to you. This should take place within two business days of your arrest. From this time, the prosecutor has ten days to build a case against you and prepare an indictment. If the prosecutor requires more time to prepare the case you can be held an additional ten days at which time you will be served with a formal indictment. Except in very rare cases you can expect to be detained during this entire process. Additionally, it is not uncommon to be under a “no visitor” status during most if not all of this time. While in this status you are however entitled to private legal counsel.

Once indicted, you can expect to be detained in a pre-trial detention center for several months while you await trial. You will be confined there until your sentencing hearing at which time you will be found innocent and released, released on a suspended sentence or transferred to a prison for the duration of your sentence. Once indicted, it is highly unlikely that you will be found innocent.

In the case of a foreigner you will face deportation at the conclusion of your sentencing hearing. If you are the Spouse of a Japanese National, or have children in Japan, you have a chance of remaining in Japan. If you do not receive a suspended sentence and serve time in prison you will face immediate deportation upon release from confinement. Additionally, once convicted of a cannabis charge that person will be denied a landing permit to enter Japan in the future. This is a life time ban which also applies to spouse or children of Japanese nationals. While a special landing permit may be granted in special cases there is no guarantee that one will be granted and the foreigner could be required to remain in the Prefecture of the port of entry until the special landing permit is granted which may take up to three months for approval.

In stark contrast, a foreigner with a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) conviction in Japan resulting from an accident where another person was deceased may be permitted to remain in Japan plus leave and enter at will depending on the sentence. Source
 
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