The National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry released survey data showing that about 1.3 million Japanese residents between the ages of 15 and 64 have used marijuana. Surveys regarding substance abuse started in 1995, with the most recent survey conducted between September and October 2017.
Since the last survey conducted this represents an increase of 380,000 marijuana users, The Japan Times reports.
There were roughly 3,000 marijuana-related arrests or incidents in the country in 2017. That is the highest number of marijuana-involved incidents in the country’s history, but it is speculated that it increased due to the heavier restrictions and penalties placed on more dangerous drugs.
Marijuana use, according to the survey, is popular in Japan among those ages 30 and younger. Most also agree that using a little bit is okay. This age group also sees using marijuana as a “matter of individual freedom.” Older age groups share similar opinions.
Japan has long opposed marijuana use, so legalization isn’t likely, but the release of more research data and continued movements regarding marijuana law reform globally may signal a shift in the country’s drug laws.