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Japan Bans on Six Substances in Food Products

MHLW implemented a comprehensive designation, categorizing substances similar to "HHCH" found in gummy candies as regulated drugs.

On December 27, 2023, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) of Japan announced six substances as "designated drugs" under the category of "dangerous drugs" with effect from January 6, 2024. The designated drugs include HHCV, HHCB, HHC, HHCH, HHCP, and "HHC-Octyl, HHCjd".

In fact, in response to complaints about the adverse health effects after consuming gummy candies containing cannabis-like ingredients, the MHLW had already added a substance called "HHCH" found in the so-called "cannabis gummies" to the controlled substance list as early as December 2. However, after that, many stores began selling products containing similar ingredients like "HHCP," and there were cases of people needing emergency medical treatment after consuming these products.

In light of these incidents, the MHLW has implemented a comprehensive designation, categorizing a total of six substances as designated drugs, two of which are structurally similar to the already regulated "HHCH", and four new substances, such as "HHCP". .

After the implementation, the production, import, sale, possession, and use of these substances and products containing these substances for purposes other than medical use will be prohibited. It should be noted that these substances are also distributed overseas, and the MHLW intends to strengthen measures at the border to prevent the import and abuse of dangerous drugs from abroad.

Significantly, the MHLW concluded the announcement with a strong emphasis and warning to all stakeholders not to engage in the sale, purchase, or import of dangerous drugs. According to the Japanese Act on Securing Quality, Efficacy and Safety of Products Including Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, manufacture, import, sell, possess, and use designated drugs will be sentenced to up to 3 years imprisonment or a 3 million yen fine; For commercial purposes, 5 years imprisonment or a 5 million yen fine can be imposed.

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