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Things that are Illegal in Japan but not the US Part 1 – Drugs

by Ewa Nowogorski

Japan has a set of laws that are similar to America’s in most regards, but there are some distinct differences and unique points worth mentioning. Japan’s laws are generally much stricter with regards to drugs than America, and we will discuss these differences here.

The first difference worth     medical drug, and as long as a person has a prescription from their doctor, they are allowed to purchase and carry it around in public in America. In Japan, marijuana falls in the same category as hardcore drugs and is very much illegal everywhere. You cannot buy, sell, or own any amount of this drug. A lot of illegal marijuana is smuggled into Japan from China.  The penalties for being caught with even a single gram are quite severe. Use and possession are punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine. Cultivation, sale, and transport are punishable by up to 7 to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine. Because of the risks involved in dealing with this drug and the difficulty of importing it into an island nation like Japan, marijuanais very costly in Japan. 1 gram of marijuana in Tokyo sells for an average of $32.66 per gram, compared to $10.76 per gram for the same substance in New York. New York interestingly has the highest average cannabis consumption per year. The cheapest place to purchase cannabis is a city called Quito in Ecuador, where it is partially legal and sells for $1.34 per gram.

Marijuana is a drug that has a lot of controversy surrounding it, so it’s not surprising that this drug is illegal, but did you know that there are legal (in the USA) over-the-counter drugs that are illegal to bring into Japan? Some include Tylenol cold, Nyquiil, Actifed, Sudafed, Advil cold and sinus, and Driston. These are barred from Japan because they contain narcotic or stimulant ingredients in excess of the Japanese standard.

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