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Wednesday, Jun 12, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.


Japan’s cannabis industry had ‘staggering’ growth over past 4 years

It was valued at about US$26 million in 2019 and is now worth around US$175 million

Japan's cannabis industry has 'staggering' growth over past 4 years
Japan's first-ever headshop Taimado sells an assortment of cannabis accessories. Photo credit: The Cannabinoid Journal

It may be surprising to hear, but the Japanese legal cannabis industry is now worth about 600 per cent more than it was in 2019. It was valued at nearly US$174 million at the end of 2023.

That is according to a recent report from the United Kingdom’s Euromonitor International. The growth is primarily attributable to the domestic CBD market, worth about US$154 million with more than 150 distributors. The report does not specify where the remaining sum has been generated.

Consumers seeking products that provide stress relief, improved sleep and relaxation are responsible for the vast expansion in the market, the report says. There are an estimated 588,000 CBD users in Japan.

This growth trend is expected to continue, largely due to a major amendment approved by the nation’s government in December that would end prohibition of cannabis-derived medicines. It is expected to come into force in 2024.

“The revision of the Cannabis Control Law [from 1948] is expected to usher in clearer guidelines for CBD product sales and distribution, attracting major companies from various sectors to enter the market by 2024,” Euromonitor said.

Read more: KIND Gardens cannabis show lights up Vancouver for the first time

Read more: Surrey BC approves plan to allow up to 12 cannabis stores in the city

Illicit market gains serious steam

The report says the country’s illicit market was 2.5 times larger than the legal CBD market at the end of 2023. However, the researcher estimates that only 0.12 per cent of the Japanese population consumes illicit cannabis once a year or more.

“Japan has witnessed a surge in illegal cultivation and smuggling operations, particularly among younger generations,” the report says.

The country’s strict possession penalties, including up to seven years in jail, have apparently not deterred young residents from having a blast.

Through a legal loophole in recent years, certain synthetic cannabinoids with intoxicating effects known as “loophole herbs” have remained legal in Japan. Authorities have been continually working to ban them once they are identified though. In March last year, the popular fake cannabinoid HHC was outlawed by the government.


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