CBD Is On Billboards In Japan For The First Time

Japan has its first public ad for a CBD product.

Compared to other countries, Japan has been fairly slow to evolve its cannabis laws. But things could be changing. A few years ago, the country legalized the medicinal use of CBD. And now, with the launch of a brand new marketing campaign by a Colorado-based CBD company, medical marijuana is on billboards in Japan for the first time.

New Marijuana Advertisements

In November 2016, Japan legalized a very limited medical marijuana program. One of the biggest limitations is that the country only allows for the use of CBD.

And even though CBD has been legal for a couple of years now, companies trying to sell CBD in Japan have apparently had a tough time. That’s because they haven’t been allowed to market very aggressively.

But now, things could be changing. Elixinol, a company that’s been approved to sell CBD in Japan, was recently granted approval for public advertising. After receiving approval, the company teamed up with Japanese advertisers to craft its first medical marijuana ads.

The company’s new billboard was recently installed in the highly-trafficked, Omotesando train station in Tokyo. With the installation of the ad, medical marijuana is on billboards in Japan for the first time.

The ad is striking in that it underplays the fact that it’s marketing a cannabis product. In fact, weed isn’t featured anywhere in the ad. Instead, it depicts a woman with flowers in her hair, some text, and a picture of a bottle of CBD oil in the lower left corner.

From the sounds of things, the low-key design of the ad was entirely on purpose. According to Mumbrella Asia, Elixinol officials said they got approval for the outdoor advertisement because of the billboard’s conservative design.

“It took us six months to get that approval,” Chris Husong, the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Elixinol, told Green Rush Daily. He added that the approval was a sign of the “support that Japan is having for our products.”

The Colorado-based company’s global reach extends far beyond Japan. They have partners in Africa, Europe, Australia, Asia “we sell products in 40 different countries.”

Changing Times In Japan

This ad is the latest development in Japan’s slowly-changing relationship with cannabis. In some ways, the country actually has an interesting history of weed. Researchers have found evidence that people were growing the plant 10,000 years ago. It appears that they grew hemp for textiles. It’s unclear if folks back then were smoking or eating weed.

Despite this ancient connection, marijuana has been illegal in Japan since 1948. Getting caught growing, selling, or transporting weed can reportedly get you locked up for 7-10 years.

But the decision to legalize CBD in 2016 was a step forward. Unfortunately for cannabis fans in Japan, it appears that the country is still relatively unfriendly to weed. The same year Japan legalized CBD, a high-profile actress-turned-politician was arrested for weed possession.

For many, the arrest sent a clear message that weed is still frowned upon in Japan. But now that the country has its first public ad for a weed product, maybe things will change more rapidly in the future.

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