Japan’s “growing marijuana problem”

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    For the past few weeks, the Japanese media has been treating a handful of cases involving the cultivation/possession of marijuana by students at some of Japan’s top universities as major national news. Three of those arrested in the last week were Waseda University students, prompting a public apology from the school’s administrators (pictured above):

    The university has decided to conduct a survey asking all of its students whether they have used cannabis, it said.

    “We are sorry for causing so much trouble,” Tomoki Waragai, executive director of the university, told a press conference.

    The three students, who were accused of growing or importing cannabis, were given suspended sentences in court. Of them, two were expelled and the school is considering how to deal with the remaining one, its officials said.

    Most of the Waseda students arrested for marijuana in the last few years have been foreigners. A Yomiuri article about the issue underlines this point my including some quotations from students interviewed:

    A male student at the university’s School of Education was not surprised to hear of the arrests.

    “Many foreigners study at the School of International Liberal Studies,” the 21-year-old third-year student said. “It’s rumored they bring back cannabis after going home during summer and other vacations.”

    A second-year literature student, 20, said: “Quite a few students are said to be smoking cannabis. I don’t think it’s such a bad thing.”

    Uh oh, it looks like some of the nation’s bright young students aren’t realizing that marijuana is a super dangerous drug. Luckily, Mainichi has an editorial about the “growing marijuana problem” that educates people about how marijuana makes people to jump off buildings and take lots of sleeping pills:

    Five years ago, the woman had smoked marijuana at the urging of an acquaintance. “My mind and body became as light as a feather, and my stress and fatigue blew away,” she said. She smoked marijuana with the acquaintance about once a week and did not experience hallucinations or other side effects associated with narcotics.

    However, due to troubles with her friends, and job-related stress, she began to smoke marijuana more frequently. Several months later, she jumped from her fourth-floor condominium apartment immediately after smoking marijuana. She suffered complex fractures in six places, but somehow survived. After being discharged from hospital she stopped smoking marijuana but began taking massive quantities of sleeping pills and tranquilizers, and became addicted to them.

    “If I hadn’t used marijuana, this would not have happened. My mind and body are in tatters,” she said.

    Unable to present evidence that smoking marijuana is more dangerous than legal drugs such as alcohol, many such media reports have taken to reporting information about marijuana being a so-called gateway drug.


    Update: A few amusing screen captures from a news report that aired about the Waseda marijuana scandal

    he learned in class

    The student being taken away in handcuffs claims that he “became interested in Marijuana after learning about Holland in class.”



    The two above shots show a pamphlet about dangerous drugs (including marijuana) that Waseda distributed to students last summer. Look at that scary blood!

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