The United States is not the only country making waves in cannabis law reform, Japan launched it's first major medical cannabis ad campaign last week and it represents a big change in the country. Even though Japanese culture has been known to use hemp for thousands of years, since the US began enforcing cannabis prohibition back in the early 1900's Japan's government has demonized the plant and spread the same propaganda that the United States is famous for. Around 3 years ago a major shift came to Japan as they legalized CBD in the country, but only if it came from hemp and not the marijuana plant. The new billboard ad campaign comes from an Australian company who has been selling CBD in Japan for a few years now. The company notes the significance of the ad campaign as a major change in the culture even though the ad in itself is very subtle and most likely wouldn't know it was even for hemp products. With Japan holding onto the third largest consumer economy in the world it would be a huge impact for legal cannabis to have a new major market.
They also perceive it as a culturally-significant moment in Japanese history. Matsumaru explains, “Japan has a very strong cultural connection with hemp, and its use by our people dates back to ancient times.”
Additionally, this ancient farming tradition has contemporary significance. Japan has an older population, a high standard of living and a cultural emphasis on health. This makes it the perfect market for CBD. According to the CEO of Elixinol Global, Paul Benheim, “Japan has the third largest consumer economy in the world, and the audience is both sophisticated and health conscious. There is huge interest in preventative health and wellness through clinical grade CBD supplements.”