These days, there are quasi-legal herbs. And some are being sold in vending machines and even in Tokyo's geek district Akihabara. And they'll apparently get you high.
The quasi-legal herbs contain substances that resemble those in stimulants, but that are not technically illegal. In Japanese, they're called "dappou herb" (脱法ハーブ), and "dappou" means to skirt the law.
According to Kyodo, sales of these herbs can be banned if the police find illegal substances in these herbs. Even if authorities do find said substances, the sellers can deny that they knew the herbs contained illicit ingredients.
Recently, an increasing number of stories about the herbs have been appearing online. One Japanese weekly recently reported how young people were getting high off the herbs—and then getting off. According to one 20 year-old woman, one herb called "J" effects the body's orifices, making sex of the anal variety more pleasurable.
Young people like it because it's "legal" and relatively cheap. For ¥1,000 (around US$13), you can get about 50grams.
Last week, cops raided a "general merchandise store" in Yokohama for selling herbs that apparently had illegal drug like ingredients. The problem with these herbs (and this crackdown) is that they exist in a legal gray zone. Thus, no one was arrested, and the shop simply shut off its herb vending machine.
Some of these vending machines are located right on the street (check this blog post), so people can easily purchase the herbs. There's even a capsule toy machine that dispenses dappou herb instead of toys. Kyodo reported that authorities confirmed 390 vendors across of Japan, which could mean one thing: lots of buttsex.
Hallucinogens sold in vending machines legit? [The Japan Times]