The government wants to revise Japans Cannabis Control Law. Presently, growing or possessing marijuana is against the law, but because of a perceived increase in use of the drug among young people, the health ministry wants to make smoking and ingesting marijuana crimes, too. This may sound like splitting hairs How can you smoke weed without having it? but the proposal indicates the authorities strong resistance to trends in other countries to decriminalize and even commercialize the medicinal and recreational consumption of pot.
The official position is that marijuana is dangerous, despite the fact that little research has been carried out in Japan as to just how dangerous it is. This is also the case in the United States, where private use of marijuana has been gradually legalized at a local level. As pointed out in the 2018 documentary, Weed the People, now streaming on Netflix, marijuana is categorized as a schedule 1 drug at federal level, meaning it has no medical applications. It also means that no public research can be carried out on marijuana, even though it has been used as a remedy for thousands of years. Now, marijuana is recognized by many Western doctors as an effective treatment for various conditions, including cancer.
The documentary asserts that as long as marijuana is classified in such a way, its possible beneficial effects can never be empirically proven. As one expert says, 90% of the private studies on marijuana are carried out for the express purpose of promoting its harmful effects, partly because pharmaceutical companies could lose business if marijuana is normalized.
The situation in Japan is also aligned with making sure marijuana has a bad image. The Cannabis Control Law was imposed on Japan by the American military authorities after World War II, but harm was never the issue. Legality is, and the government, believing that usage is going up, wants stronger laws to suppress it and so needs to reinforce the narrative that marijuana is harmful, though all it has is anecdotal evidence to that effect. Even the panel assembled by the health ministry to discuss the revision, and which sounds predisposed to approving it, has said that it needs better data to make the case that the drug is bad for you. In an interview with BuzzFeed Japan, one of the panel members, addiction expert Toshihiko Matsumoto, theorized that after use of so-called kiken (dangerous) drugs declined following tougher regulations several years ago, the health ministry division in charge of illegal drugs has had less work to do, and so is lobbying for tougher marijuana laws in order to get its budget allocation back.
Vital to these purposes is the media, which characterizes marijuana as being highly addictive and a gateway to other drugs. There has been little resistance to this tendency, which is where Michiko Kameishi comes in. Kameishi is an Osaka lawyer who has become a vocal advocate for greater transparency surrounding marijuanas status in Japan.
Kameishi has made a name for herself as a defiant (hankotsu) attorney. Her first high-profile case was defending a nightclub in Osaka cited by the police for allowing dancing without a permit. Had the club obtained such a permit, they would not have been able to operate after midnight, and most such clubs make their money in the wee hours. Kameishis defense not only cleared the operator, but also led to a change in the decades-old law. Her next big case was defending a man arrested by the Osaka Prefectural Police for theft. The police had attached a GPS device to the suspects car without a warrant, which Kameishi pointed out was illegal. Usually, such procedural improprieties dont sway judges, but the Supreme Court eventually agreed with Kameishi.
But it was her representation of a tattoo artist fined for plying his trade without a medical license that received the most attention. Kameishis defense presented Japanese tattoos as a cultural artifact. If the medical license protocol was enforced, an entire art form unique to Japan would disappear. She won.
What sets Kameishi apart from her peers is not just the kind of cases she takes, but her methodology. She doesnt charge clients whose cases may have a larger social significance, and has learned how to use crowdfunding to cover the often prohibitive cost of going to trial. She appeals to common sense and strict adherence to constitutional principles. In the tattoo defense, she understood that the general public looks askance at tattoos, so she focused on the cultural aspect. On the website Bunshun Online last year, she explained how three particularly brutal murder cases did not warrant the death penalty, using everyday language to explain how extenuating circumstances must be considered in such cases.
Kameishis marijuana-related work is different in that she is not proceeding within the framework of a court case. Basically, she is carrying out a public relations offensive. As she explained last year during a discussion with Yuji Masataka of the medical marijuana support group Green Zone Japan, she started questioning Japans marijuana laws when she realized that people accused of using stimulant drugs sometimes carried out secondary crimes such as assault and arson, while those accused of using marijuana typically didnt. Previously, she never thought the law was a problem. This reflexive aspect hit home when she ran for the Upper House and tried to hold a public discussion about marijuana laws. Her campaign staff talked her out of it because it would be too risky. She lost anyway, thus freeing her to talk about the issue openly.
For what its worth, Kameishi gets attention from mainstream media outlets for reasons that dont always have something to do with her accomplishments. She has been described as being too beautiful for a lawyer, a sexist qualifier that nevertheless has brought her exposure that she can use to talk about a topic that is taboo in Japan. As she told Masataka, conveying correct information about marijuana is important, but it ultimately depends on who does it and how they do it.
See http://www.philipbrasor.com for addenda to Media Mix contributions.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.
PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
Read the rest here:
- 5 Best Tattoo Artists in Houston - Kev's Best - February 19th, 2021
- Ink Evolution - Flathead Beacon - February 19th, 2021
- It doesnt get easier with time: Smiths continue to move forward while honoring loved ones - Fox17 - February 19th, 2021
- Arteta refuses to confirm whether Aubameyang broke rules by getting tattoo - BT Sport - February 19th, 2021
- Irish tattoo artist recalls the day Britney Spears came to Bray - Newstalk - February 19th, 2021
- Did you know entrepreneur Naman Arora is a top-notch tattoo artist? Read to know more about the creative genius! - News Track English - February 19th, 2021
- 3 Men Shared the Stories Behind the Epic Tattoos They Got to Cover Their Scars - menshealth.com - February 19th, 2021
- Want to get a finger tattoo? Here's what to keep in mind before taking the plunge - VOGUE India - February 17th, 2021
- Arsenal investigate Aubameyang over reported COVID-19 tattoo breach - ESPN - February 17th, 2021
- Tributes paid in memory of talented Blood Rush tattoo artist - Leighton Buzzard Observer - February 17th, 2021
- Artist and Influencer Mikey B Made It is legally trappin art from the hood to Hollywood - Press Release - Digital Journal - February 17th, 2021
- Charlie Cartwright: The Godfather of Black-and-Grey Fine Line Tattooing - Scene 360 - February 17th, 2021
- Exploring the process of becoming a tattoo artist - Argonaut - February 14th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Share the Tattoo Ideas So Bad They Actually Refused to Do Them - menshealth.com - February 14th, 2021
- Tattoo artists reveal the one inking theyve been asked to do but had to refuse - Daily Star - February 11th, 2021
- Show what you love: Manchester resident Lizzie Wright in the running to be Inked magazines next cover girl - Baltimore Sun - February 11th, 2021
- Tattoo artists reveal the one tattoo they have had to refuse to do - Buzz.ie - February 11th, 2021
- These Tattoo Artists Shared the Worst Mistakes Theyve Ever Made - menshealth.com - February 11th, 2021
- Feel the Bern: Warm up with the top 10 Bernie Sanders memes The Rocky Mountain Collegian - Rocky Mountain Collegian - February 11th, 2021
- Tattoo artists reveal their worst mistakes ever and how the clients reacted - Daily Star - February 11th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Shared the Tattoos They Love Doing the Most - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 10th, 2021
- Halsey Doesn't Want To Go 'Overboard' On Pregnancy Cravings - OK! - February 10th, 2021
- Becky G Just Got 2 New Tattoos in One Day, and I Thought I Had a High Pain Threshold - POPSUGAR - February 10th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Shared the Best Tattoos They'll Never Get Tired of Doing - menshealth.com - February 10th, 2021
- Nine things tattoo artists hate clients doing when they get inked - Daily Star - February 10th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Shared the Tattoos They're Most Sick of Seeing - menshealth.com - February 7th, 2021
- Student, 23, who cant tell her left from right gets L and R TATTOOED on her hands as a permanent reminder - The Irish Sun - February 7th, 2021
- 'Basic' tattoos artists secretly hate doing - and the ones they'll refuse to give - Cambridgeshire Live - February 6th, 2021
- With Pastel Devil Studio, these artists are reimagining today's tattoo parlor - St. Louis Magazine - February 6th, 2021
- Bricks placed in Southern Indiana remember those who have died from drug overdose - WHAS11.com - February 6th, 2021
- Vans Tapped 4 Artists to Design Shoes For Black History Month, and We Talked to Them All - POPSUGAR - February 6th, 2021
- 20 Interesting Facts About the South Korean Boy Band BTS - Music in Minnesota - Music in Minnesota - February 6th, 2021
- 10 Celebs Who Have Face Tattoos | TheThings - TheThings - February 6th, 2021
- Walter Suza: A city along the Mississippi seeks to defeat hate - Ames Tribune - February 6th, 2021
- If Norman Rockwell were alive today: North Jersey photo exhibit updates iconic artists works - NJ.com - February 4th, 2021
- Jhene Aiko & 9 Other Celebs Who Got Huge Portraits Of Their Partners Tattooed On Them - TheThings - February 4th, 2021
- Columbus rappers and engineers embrace work from home with new DIY spaces - Columbus Alive - February 4th, 2021
- Chris Evans Has Way More Tattoos Than You Think - menshealth.com - February 4th, 2021
- The sweet side of a sour pandemic - IU Southeast Horizon - February 4th, 2021
- Student, 23, who cant tell her left from right gets L and R TATTOOED on her hands as a permanent reminder - The Sun - February 4th, 2021
- No one said folding clothes was easy, but this folding board makes it quick - Yahoo Lifestyle - February 4th, 2021
- Bedford Has a Year-Round All-Horror Shop - Dallas Observer - February 4th, 2021
- 'Basic' tattoos artists secretly hate doing - and the ones they'll refuse to do - Mirror Online - February 4th, 2021
- One Arm Willie makes his mark on the local tattoo industry - Mountain Xpress - February 4th, 2021
- How to plan your tattoo - Nation Online - nation.lk - The Nation Newspaper - February 4th, 2021
- The most basic tattoos artists secretly hate as they reveal the one inking they will NEVER do - The Sun - February 2nd, 2021
- Six tattoos artists secretly hate doing and the one inking they refuse to do - Daily Star - February 2nd, 2021
- 90 Day Fianc Recap: They Really Titled This Episode The No Bang Theory - Vulture - February 2nd, 2021
- Brett Young Honors His Children By Getting Tattoos Of Their Heartbeats By Bubba Irwin - Music Mayhem Magazine - February 2nd, 2021
- Rye grads put a spotlight on Toronto's diverse artists with How T.O. Art - The Eyeopener - February 2nd, 2021
- Cara Delevingne & Other Models Who Made It In The Industry With Visible Tattoos - TheThings - February 2nd, 2021
- Heres What Halseys Mysterious Matching Seeds Tattoo With Her Boyfriend Alev Means - Cosmopolitan - February 2nd, 2021
- Denver tattoo artist goes viral for her take on the wildly popular Bernie Sanders meme - The Denver Channel - January 31st, 2021
- For the love of Ink - Daily Pioneer - January 31st, 2021
- Michigan family mourns death of son they say was pushed to the breaking point by stop in high school sports - MLive.com - January 31st, 2021
- Style 'The Bernie Meme' Is Forever Immortalized on a Denver Man's Body - ourcommunitynow.com - January 31st, 2021
- Halsey and Alev Aydin Have Matching Tattoos and the Meaning Behind Them Will Make You Melt - Seventeen.com - January 31st, 2021
- Someone in Toronto started an Instagram account sharing the stories behind people's tattoos - blogTO - January 31st, 2021
- For artist Tim Eakin, each tattoo has 'got to be the best thing ever' - Canton Repository - January 30th, 2021
- Pattaya tattoo artists have only red ink - Pattaya Mail - January 30th, 2021
- Tattoo Artists Talked About Their Mistakes and Now We'll Think Twice Before Getting a Tattoo - nation.lk - The Nation Newspaper - January 30th, 2021
- Arrow Brings The El Duce Tapes & Shogun's Joy Of Torture In February - Inside Pulse - January 30th, 2021
- Kim Jones, roller derby and haute couture debuts: whats in fashion? - i-D - January 30th, 2021
- Can You Wear Floral on Your Buzz Cut? - The New York Times - January 27th, 2021
- #Balancetontatoueur: one of the accused tattooists files a complaint against the Instagram account which wanted to break the omerta - Inspired... - January 27th, 2021
- Is The King of Staten Island based on a true story? Which parts have been fictionalised? - Republic World - January 27th, 2021
- Integrity Ink Provides Fast, Effective, and Affordable Full-Spectrum Laser Tattoo Removal in Crosby, TX with the Astanza Trinity Laser - GlobeNewswire - January 27th, 2021
- New Year New Me LifeChanging Scalp Micropigmentation For Men and Women - Pro News Report - January 27th, 2021
- Missing and Murdered in the Midwest Crime Chat: Hello 2021 & Bloody Good Book Club - WQAD.com - January 25th, 2021
- Ireland Baldwin Tugs Down Her Pants To Show Off Her Lace Panties, Butt, And Tattoo - The Inquisitr - January 25th, 2021
- Socceroo Jackson Irvine explains his viral Simpsons tattoo that won over a writer from the show - Sporting News AU - January 24th, 2021
- From Grassroots To Grand Circuit Glory - Standardbred Canada - January 24th, 2021
- Face tattoos give Indigenous woman a chance to reclaim traditional form of self-expression - CBC.ca - January 24th, 2021
- Tattoo artist Les Bowen reflects on 61 years inking bodies and change from underground to art form - ABC News - January 22nd, 2021
- Sherbrooke-based tattoo artists ready to get back to the studio - Sherbrooke Record - January 22nd, 2021
- The Dangerous Risks of Eye Tattoos, According to Body Modification Artist Who Invented Them - Yahoo Lifestyle - January 22nd, 2021
- Denver Tattoo Shop Owner Finally Gets Some Attention From the City - Westword - January 22nd, 2021
- Travis Ross makes another visit to Accelerated Charter High School - YourCentralValley.com - January 22nd, 2021
- Remington Tattoo Parlor and Gallery Claims To Be The Best Option For Those Searching Online For "Female Tattoo Artists Near Me" In San Diego... - January 20th, 2021
- Getting inked is becoming more acceptable - The Signal - The Signal - January 20th, 2021