First Lady of Japan Considers Hemp Farming

In an interview with the Japanese magazine Spa!, First Lady of Japan Akie Abe said that studying the history of hemp has gotten her interested in cultivating the plant, which is strictly limited in Japan.

Hemp, specifically cord and clothing made from hemp fiber, plays a key role in traditional Shinto ceremonies. The plant traces its roots back to the 7th century and earlier, when the Japanese first began making traditional paper, or washi, from hemp.

Though cannabis grows wild in parts of Japan thanks to its long history in the region, the country’s strict anti-marijuana laws prevent people from picking it or smoking it. Since the Cannabis Control Act of 1948, which outlawed hemp and other cannabis products in Japan, only a few select farmers receive permits to grow the plant.

“Hemp is a plant of which all of its parts can be used effectively,” the First Lady said. “While it is not yet permitted in Japan, I think it can be put into great practical use for medical purposes as well.”

She also said she has considered applying for a special permit to grow hemp as part of an initiative to revive the tradition in Japan.

Photo Credit: toyokeizai.net

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