OSAKA (TR) – Osaka Customs officials on Friday credited a recent crackdown on synthetic loophole drugs for the increase in seizures of marijuana in the past year, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 21).
Between 2013 and 2014, the number of cases of smuggling of marijuana increased from seven to 18 while the weight of the drug seized jumped from 0.6 to 16 kilograms.
In one case in February of last year, officers at Kansai International Airport seized 14 kilograms of marijuana found inside a collection of Buddhist texts arriving from overseas via a mail-order service. Each book contained between 110 and 120 grams of the drug.
In July, officials at the airport found chocolate and other candies containing marijuana discarded in a trash can. Three months later, a passenger arriving on a flight was found to have the drug inside a bag.
For the smuggling of all drugs, the number of cases surged by more than 63 percent to 38.
A customs official said that restrictions now in place on so-called “dangerous drugs” have likely resulted in the increase in seizures of marijuana.
“Since the risks of dangerous drugs are often reported,” the official said of the contraband, whose varying chemical structures can often exploit loopholes in the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law, “it is possible that users are now switching to cannabis.”