Legal Marijuana” on sale on major e-commerce sites… The dangerous reality of “legal marijuana” circulating on social networking sites. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Legal Marijuana” on sale on major e-commerce sites… The dangerous reality of “legal marijuana” circulating on social networking sites.

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Vapes containing various cannabis-derived ingredients are available for sale (image courtesy of pixta)

There’s legal marijuana. Please give it a try.”

It has been a while since we have seen posts on Twitter and other social networking sites advertising vapes (vape, e-cigarette) that use a liquid containing marijuana-derived ingredients. These tweets include images of the product and links to the company’s e-commerce site, making it easy to obtain the product.

Marijuana is a hot topic every time a celebrity is arrested, and the market for products containing CBD (cannabidiol), a natural ingredient extracted from the stems and seeds of the cannabis plant, is rapidly expanding. It is claimed to increase concentration and, conversely, to have a relaxing effect, and yet it is legal. As a result, more and more people, especially young people, are using CBD products without any resistance.

Even on Amazon, a search for “marijuana liquid” or “legal marijuana” yields countless hits on liquid cartridges for use in vaping. However, there are some dubious products.

Some do not list the ingredients in the product description, while others have a note from the seller that says, “We only handle legal and safe products, but please consume at your own risk.

Perhaps as a measure against illegal activities, Amazon’s statement, “We try to provide correct product information, but it is very rare for a manufacturer to change the ingredients (contained in the product) without notice. Therefore, the actual product you receive may differ from the description on the website. Please be sure to check the label and warning on the product you receive before using it. Many products are currently suspended from sale.

Although they claim to be “legal marijuana,” there are a variety of manufacturers, and it is not clear what the actual process is. Mr. A, who is familiar with the situation, explains on condition of anonymity.

In March 2011, THCO and HHCO, which have a “getting high” effect similar to marijuana, were regulated. THCO is THC plus acetic acid, and HHCO is THC hydrogenated plus acetic acid. In any case, both THCO and HHCO were distributed as “legal marijuana” before they were regulated, but they seem to have been banned because of their addictive and dangerous properties.

However, the fact that they are regulated does not mean that dangerous drugs have been wiped out; alternative ingredients such as “THCH” and “THCB” have already replaced THCO and other ingredients in the market. New alternative ingredients are being discovered and developed one after another. It is an ongoing struggle between the distributor and the government.”

A check of various e-commerce sites revealed that a large number of vape liquids that claimed to be legal marijuana were suspended immediately after the regulations came into effect. Although it is unclear whether or not the suspended products contained the relevant ingredients, the possibility cannot be ruled out that the distributors may change the ingredient descriptions on their own and re-list the products.

To be honest, the layman can’t tell what ingredients are in the liquid. The color is not different, nor is the smell. From the seller’s point of view, it’s all about the money. It would not be surprising if the sellers who could not handle THCO and HHCO before the regulations came into effect were selling them under the name of THCH,” (Mr. A).

Dangerous drugs are becoming more and more black boxed due to repeated regulations. There is a danger of being lured by the word “legal” and purchasing products laced with illegal ingredients. What is Amazon doing about it? When we asked the Japanese subsidiary, we received the following response.

Amazon not only takes measures to prevent the sale of products that violate the relevant laws and guidelines in advance, but also continuously checks the site to make sure that there are no illegal products on the site. If an item is found to be in violation, Amazon will take the appropriate action, such as removing the item (or page) or suspending the sales account. If you find an offending product, we would appreciate it if you could send us the URL (of the site in question). We will confirm it and take action as soon as possible.

Takuya Murao, a member of Higashimachi Law Office, a law firm in Tokyo, cautions in this way.

Dangerous drugs are basically regulated under the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Law (Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Law). The manufacture, importation, sale, possession, or purchase of illegal drugs designated under the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Law for purposes other than medical treatment is punishable by imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine of not more than 3 million yen (or both).

Since simple possession of marijuana for purposes other than profit is punishable by up to five years in prison, people tend to think that dangerous drugs, for which the penalty is lighter, are less dangerous to the body, but they are mistaken. Because the exact data and dangers of dangerous drugs are not well known, they are provisionally punished as designated drugs under the Pharmaceutical and Industrial Safety Law, which means that the punishment is lighter.

It is highly likely that the dangerous drugs currently in circulation will eventually be subject to regulation. Designation as a controlled substance depends on the approval of the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare, so it is done quickly and does not require approval by the Diet. Even if a dangerous drug was not a controlled substance at the time of purchase, it may well have become a designated drug without the user’s knowledge, and thus be illegal.

Don’t approach danger. It seems that you can’t be safe just because they claim to be legal, or because they are sold on major websites.

  • Interview and text by Hideo Hayashi

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