The amount of liquid marijuana seized in Japan has soared in recent years, putting police and customs on high alert. It is estimated that marijuana in liquid form seized by customs in Tokyo has jumped by over 70%.
Liquid derived from marijuana plants can be used similarly to electronic cigarettes and has the same chemical properties as dried cannabis, such as THC and CBD. Customs officials described the recent phenomenon as "explosive," according to a report in the Japan Times on Tuesday.
“Liquid marijuana also smells less of the plant version, making it harder to detect”, an MPD official added. The number of marijuana-related arrests has also increased, according to the Tokyo Police Department (JPD) and the Justice Ministry.
According to the Tokyo customs office, the amount of liquid marijuana seized in 2019 was about 400 grams but rose to 9 kilograms in the five months to November. Authorities also said that in many cases last year, marijuana liquids were contained in bottles disguised as honey or other products. Many of the users were teenagers, officials with the Metropolitan Police Department in Tokyo said. Cannabis use in Japan has increased over the past decade, according to data from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
The crackdown on marijuana will be stepped up in cooperation with customs and other authorities, officials said. An MPD official hinted that liquid marijuana bought abroad at a low price could be sold at a higher price by smugglers in the country. Last month, police in Saitama prefecture arrested a man in his 20s who worked for the Kanto Shinetsu Regional Taxation Bureau for allegedly possessing the liquid on his way home from work.