TOKYO (TR) – A Tokyo-based national health center revealed on Tuesday that marijuana use in Japan is at an all-time high.
According to the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, the results of a survey conducted last year revealed that an estimated 1.6 million Japanese aged between 15 and 64 have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime.
The figure is the highest since the center began its biennial substance abuse survey in 1995. The 2019 figure represents an increase of about 270,000 over that from the last time the survey was conducted two years before.
Takuya Shimane, the director of the center, credited the rise with outside influences. “It is possible that approved use of [marijuana] in some parts of the United States [and other countries] have caused positive information to flood the internet, which is affecting primarily young people [in Japan],” he said.
The director added, “It is necessary to enhance preventive education focused on marijuana abuse.”
Law enforcement activity was also up. Police cited a record 4,321 people for marijuana-related crimes last year. The figure is nearly three times that recorded in 2013, when it was 1,555.