The government is poised to allow the use of medical marijuana to treat patients with intractable diseases, according to the outline of bills revealed on Tuesday.
The government is considering submitting the bills including one to revise the Cannabis Control Law during the current Diet session.
The proposed revision would also criminalize the use of marijuana.
In countries including the United States and Britain, medicine made from cannabis plants is used to treat patients with intractable epilepsy and other diseases for which existing drugs are ineffective.
Cannabis plants contain a substance that has an intoxicating effect, which is one of the reasons why the use of marijuana in medicine is prohibited in Japan. The proposed revision would enable such patients to use drugs made from cannabis plants.
On the use of marijuana, there are currently no penalties for using it because farmers who cultivate cannabis with permission by prefectural governors might intake substances from the plant during harvesting.
Marijuana has been dubbed a “gateway drug” as it is said to lead to other forms of drug abuse. The government intends to strengthen the crackdown on marijuana to prevent abuse of the drug among young people, which is becoming a social problem.