The Mie prefectural government said Friday it has rejected a request from a group of shrines to cultivate cannabis for hemp "shimenawa" rope used for Shinto rituals, citing the danger of theft and misuse.
The prefectural government in central Japan said it notified the Ise-based group that sufficient measures, such as installing a security camera, had not been planned to be implemented and hemp shimenawa rope can be made with imported cannabis.
In recent years, Japan has imported around 90 percent of its cannabis for hemp shimenawa rope from China, according to the group. Most domestic cannabis is produced in Tochigi Prefecture in eastern Japan.
Ise, in Mie Prefecture, is known for the Ise Shrine, which dates back around 2,000 years and is dedicated to the ancestral deities of the Japanese imperial family.
In Japan, a law prohibits the possession and transfer of marijuana, but cultivation of cannabis is permitted under strict conditions with prefectural permission.
The prefectural government would allow production of cannabis under adequate management control if it is deemed socially and culturally important or indispensable for people's lives. However, the prefecture said there is no precedent for such a decision.
The group of shrines applied for permission in November. It planned to cultivate a species of cannabis that contains little to no psychoactive compounds, if permitted.
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