Japan’s culture is often emphasized and reflected in their people’s hard work, diligence, and dedication in anything they do. Most of the time, the stereotype that they operate like a part of a bigger societal structure does not exaggerate as Japanese work like well-oiled machines for the betterment of their society.
That is why it is quite hard to imagine the country imitating western concepts like independence from society, the laid-back way of life, and the use of psychoactive recreational substances.
Compared to other civilized nations, Japan has been lagging and being slow in evolving its laws that will make cannabis available for its population. But it seems that things are changing, just a few years ago, the medical use of CBD is legalized. And just fairly recently, a billboard of a CBD product was set-up in the country.
The billboard was a part of the marketing campaign of a Colorado-based CBD company- Elixinol, and it was the first time the drug was publicly promoted in the country.
Elixinol’s Cannabis Advertisement
In November 2016, Japan passed a policy that would control and regulate medical cannabis. That law was very specific in stating that the citizens of the country are only allowed to use medical CBD.
Even though the use of CBD has been legalized for almost two years now, the businesses that would like to sell or are currently selling the substance are having a hard time marketing their products. One specification of the policy for medical cannabis in 2016 states that companies who would sell CBD products are not allowed to promote these items extensively.
Elixinol might just change the cannabis industry in the country. This company who has been allowed and has the license to sell CBD in Japan has also been granted the approval to publicly advertise their product. It didn’t take them long before they installed the first medical cannabis ad in the country.
The billboard was recently put up in the Omotesand Train Station, a high foot traffic area in Tokyo. Passersby have varying reactions on seeing the very first cannabis-related advertisement in their country.
A lot of people were amazed by how the billboard was rendered, saying it was striking in a way that it underplays the fact that it was promoting a cannabis medication product.
The play with the visuals of a beautiful Japanese woman, who has several flowers decorated on her hair, and with the beach as her background subtly gives a message that the users of the product will feel the same relaxation as the woman’s face displays in the ad. Also, the picture of the CBD oil bottle is placed in the lower left corner of the billboard and several Japanese texts are spread around the ad evenly.
According to Mumbrella Asia, an Australian news site that covers media and marketing news in the Asia Pacific regions, the officials of Elixinol intended the low-key layout design. They said that it was one of the factors that got Elixnol the approval of the government. Mumbrella Asia said that the ad’s conservative design made it easier for the advertisement to be placed in a heavily populated area.
“It took us six months to get that approval,” Chris Husong, the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Elixinol said in an interview. Husong added that the approval of the ad was a good indicator that Japan is opening its doors for cannabis products.
Aside from Japan, Elixinol also has other global reaches and have partners in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. They aim to sell their products in 40 different countries.
Japan’s Evolving View
Elixinol’s advertisement is the latest development in the country’s changing perception on cannabis. In a way, Japan has an interesting past with cannabis. According to the researchers, pieces of evidence were found that tell early settlers in Japan have grown cannabis plants 10,000 years ago in the past. They also discovered that they grew hemp and it was used to make textiles. Although they have planted cannabis plants, it is still unclear if they were smoking or even eating cannabis-infused products in those times.
Despite Japan’s history with cannabis, it has been illegal in the country since 1948. Individuals caught using, growing, selling, possessing cannabis can get locked for 7 to 10 years.
The decision to legalize CBD in 2016 was a huge step forward in the country. Unfortunately, in that same year, a famous and high-profile actress who got into politics was arrested for cannabis possession. This arrest sent a clear message to the cannabis enthusiast in the country that the substance is still being frowned upon.
But now that the country has finally opened up a bit by allowing a CBD billboard in a high-foot traffic public area, things might finally change for the future of cannabis in the country.