While America and other Western countries have made significant progress towards the legalization of marijuana, Japan remains firmly conservative in its views on the drug. Usage is actually at an all-time high though, with 2017 having the most arrests relating to cannabis to date. One of the most publicized cases happened in May of this year when a group of high school students were charged with possession in Shikoku’s Kōchi Prefecture. In a country that boasts a zero tolerance policy towards weed, both legally and socially, the news shocked many. A reporter for DOPE Magazine had trouble getting some of his contacts to even discuss the issue when researching the attitudes behind it.
It’s surprising then, with the staunch opposition to cannabis and strict legal enforcement, that marijuana listings are posted in abundance on Craigslist. Posters on Reddit pondered over who would be dumb enough to publicly sell illegal drugs in a country like Japan. The ads are often labelled with titles for unrelated items, but prominently feature a picture of the drug along with usernames to contact on chat applications. Craigslist prohibits ads for controlled substances, but enforcement appears low and often requires users to flag posts if they find them to be breaking site regulations.
For foreigners looking to continue their smoking habit, it may seem like an expensive but easy way to get their fix. It’s supposed to—the ads often target English speakers who may not know much about Japan’s drug regulation or are just that desperate. What looks too good to be true most likely is; trusting an anonymous post which urges buyers to contact them via a third-party app does not have a high likelihood of ending well, should you choose to message them. Scammers often ask for full or partial payment before the sale as a gesture of good faith or a requirement to gain their trust, but then disappear once the money has been transferred. Use common sense and you won’t end up with an empty wallet or worse.
Image courtesy of Max Pixel.