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2008年11月 5日 (水)


2008/11/5--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 4(IHT/Asahi: November 5,2008)

EDITORIAL: Dope-smoking students


Two Keio University students have been arrested on suspicion of dealing in and possessing marijuana. Five others had earlier been arrested for similar offenses and expelled or otherwise punished since 2004, according to the university.

In all the cases, the students were probably first drawn to marijuana out of curiosity. They may also have gotten a kick out of appearing "bad" and the thrill of being associated with drugs. But their actions are inexcusable.




The students must have been aware that it is a crime to deal or possess marijuana. Yet, they bought and sold the drug on campus of all places. Their lack of discretion is beyond belief.


More young people today are experimenting with marijuana. Just the other day, a Doshisha University senior was indicted for keeping a stash of cannabis at home.


Earlier this year, students of Kansai University and Hosei University were arrested for allegedly smoking pot and conducting transactions at on-campus places including the library. Perhaps these students felt it was easy to meet up with others and there was less likelihood of being caught by the police. Last year, members of Kanto Gakuin University's rugby team were caught growing marijuana plants in their dorm.


Marijuana-related scandals continue to crop up in show business and sports circles. There is no question that the problem is becoming widespread.


A record 3,282 marijuana-related cases were uncovered nationwide last year. Unlike with other drugs, the ranks of marijuana users among young people are showing a notable increase. Of those caught, nearly 70 percent were minors and young adults in their 20s. What is shocking is that the figure included not only university students, but also 28 senior high school students and one attending junior high school.


The Internet makes it easy for anyone looking to purchase cannabis seeds to go to a seller's site online. Manuals on how to grow cannabis are readily available. It is easy for inexperienced people to start taking the drug. It takes just one person to "turn" others on.



The Cannabis Control Law regulates marijuana possession and cultivation, but it does not address its use. This, in addition to the fact that marijuana is not deemed illegal in some countries, perhaps accounts for the absence of a sense of guilt among many young people.


This may have been the case with the two Keio students. But what awaited them was the grave reality of being arrested.


Not only have their lives spun out of control for now, but they will also be in deeper trouble if they had approached friends and encouraged them to use marijuana. University officials had to hold a news conference and apologize in public. The price these offending students must pay for breaking the law is beyond measure.


Further disturbing is that smoking pot can be the first step toward indulging in other controlled substances. For instance, there are marijuana dealers who try to sell addictive stimulants and other drugs to their customers. Anyone who falls for their sales pitch will be crossing the point of no return.


We must remind all young people of the terrible pitfalls that lie beyond marijuana.



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