Clueless police

Pointless shaming of athletes for marijuana have made international headlines with the Phelps “scandal”, but the ongoing series of sumo related marijuana arrests here in Japan has hit a new low. According to today’s Japan Times:


Wakakirin has allegedly admitted possessing the marijuana with the intention of using it, though police said they doubted his explanation of how he smoked it.


He reportedly told investigators he hollowed out a cigar, blended the tobacco with marijuana and put the mixture back into the cigar and smoked it, but a senior prefectural police official said it isn’t normal to inhale cigars in the same way as smoking marijuana.


Really? A “senior prefectural police official” making public statements on a criminal drug investigation hasn’t heard of a blunt? Someone needs to get the Yokohama police a subscription to MTV so they can watch some hip hop videos. This would just be pure comedy if it didn’t imply that they were casting doubt on Wakakirin’s entire story in an attempt to frame him for the Japanese equivalent of “possession with intent to distribute”, whatever it may actually be called here.

15 thoughts on “Clueless police

  1. The reefer madness of the Japanese press over the last 5-6 months has been annoying. A few kids toking up is being turned into an example of the moral decay of a generation. Excessive and unwise.

  2. Ha. I was “passing this joint of info” around to all my friends too. Is reefer madness worse in the U.S. where it is cynically exploited by a government that knows marijuana is not very harmful, or in Japan where everyone is so clueless that they actually think it is harmful?

  3. That’s a good question.

    I’d say the US, as neighbours Canada and Mexico as well as most of Europe are completely fine with possession of small amounts. That, and the same types of people who crusade against it often get caught with coke.

    In Japan, the massive ignorance about weed is actually a bit heartening – a sign of a lack of a really serious drug culture (although if all of those people doing shabu switched to reefer, Japan would be a happier place). I don’t smoke myself, but I am quite looking forward to it becoming more common in Japan because it may inspire new creative directions. It certainly hasn’t hurt American pop culture or music any.

  4. In 1995 a few New Zealand cricket players got caught toking it up in South Africa. I remember because I walked into a gym in Auckland on the same day the story broke and there was a poster right in front of me with the slogan “Top Sportsmen Do Not Use Drugs.” The picture on the poster was of the national cricket team playing South Africa.

    As to whether dope would be tolerated in the U.S., it already is in some quarters. I caught a news piece the other day that was reporting on marijuana. If I remember the gist of the story correctly you some states allow you to grow six plants for medicinal purposes. (I’ve checked, it’s true: http://marijuanacannabis.wordpress.com/2008/11/26/medicinal-cannabis-in-the-usa/) Anyway, the guy they interviewed on the TV show had six plants about four metres high and three meters wide. Obviously he was very sick.

    Now like M-bone, I don’t do the stuff myself, but I know people in all the countries I’ve lived in for any length of time that have, and I don’t know anywhere where it is particularly hard to come by if you really want it, by all accounts. It’s always going to be controversial when prominent athletes do it because they tend to be role models for people who can’t think for themselves, but I think that the Japanese (and other) media could just lighten up a bit.

  5. Briatin has just upgraded cannabis from a Class C drug to a Class B drug. It was only downgraded four years ago. Police will once again be able to arrest first timeoffenders for possession of small amounts.

  6. “Police will once again be able to arrest first timeoffenders for possession of small amounts.”

    Why the change? Is it a halfass response to knife crime or something?

  7. Interesting question Marxy. I don’t even see much of the “gateway drug” hyperbole regarding cannabis I grew up with. The debate over cannabis’ legal status barely even seems to have an actual argument anymore in favor of criminal penalties, except that this is how things are. Drug policy in America really is, as I’ve said before, looking like nothing more than the purely cynical exploitation of the poor for the financial and political gain of the prison-industrial complex. Combined with the laws taking away voting rights from convicts and the way prison based gerrymandering works, this ends up looking nauseatingly like the antebellum “3/5 rule”. But I don’t think we can even call this reefer madness anymore, as the social panic regarding marijuana is basically gone.

    “I know people in all the countries I’ve lived in for any length of time that have, and I don’t know anywhere where it is particularly hard to come by if you really want it”
    I’ve hear that in Japan it actually grows outdoors in rural Tokoku and Hokkaido, so the stuff sold here isn’t even imported. But I try to avoid learning TOO much about it in a country where it’s as illegal as it is. When I went to Shanghai, I remember there were Uyrhgur guys walking up and down the street in the Bund and downtown area trying to sell us hashish. Not very inconspicuously too – they would call out “hashish, hashish!” and then show a little nugget of it in the palm of their hand when passing by.

    “I’d say the US, as neighbours Canada and Mexico as well as most of Europe are completely fine with possession of small amounts. ”

    Like many things, it varies by state-a LOT. And distinctions can be weird. In NY (not sure state or just city) simple possession outdoors is just a $100 fine and no charge, but gets upgraded to a much more serious charge if you actually have it out in the open, and then again if you smoke it outdoors. Of course, this doesn’t stop my from seeing/smelling people smoking on the street in NYC so I don’t think it’s a very high priority for the cops there.

  8. Don’t you know the only reason I criticize anything about America is so that I can get away with Japan-bashing?

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