Japan: Vape shops searched by police over alleged sale of illegal ‘hemp liquid’

TOKYO — A regional narcotics control department announced on July 25 a search sweeping dozens of shops owned by a vape retail group and the confiscation of over 100 “hemp liquid” products that were suspected of including illegal components of marijuana.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s narcotics control departments raided vape retailer Good Chill’s 28 stores across Japan on suspicion of violating the Cannabis Control Act. According to the narcotics department of the Kanto-Shinetsu Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare, 141 items such as vape liquids thought to contain the illegal elements were confiscated from 20 shops in nine prefectures including Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima.

Good Chill’s homepage promotes the company as “Japan’s largest dealer of legal marijuana,” and claims their products include “no illegal components.” The company, headquartered in Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture, sells e-cigarettes and related products in stores nationwide as well as online. However, the narcotics department believes that the stores actually sold liquid with a high concentration of marijuana’s illegal, psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and is thoroughly investigating some of the shops’ management situation and whether they were aware that such a product was illegal.

The health ministry worked with police departments in different prefectures for the July 20-21 searches. One of the confiscated liquids, “Kusamajin,” reportedly tested positive for THC. The liquid was being marketed at “total experts” and sold for around 16,000 yen (approx. $110) per bottle.

The health ministry department warned, “This product is potentially a health hazard. Those who possess it could be violating the law, so we’d like its purchasers to return the items to the nearest narcotics department.”

(Japanese original by Ryo Endo, Tokyo City News Department)


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