Authorizing medical marijuana has become a global movement in many developed nations. South Korea scored a requisite milestone in trying to change the conservative approach of the country towards the plant. If you are touring the country or reside there, you need to follow the law. If you want to buy cannabis seeds in South Korea, read the following article!
South Korea had a long relationship with marijuana before it was banned. Let’s have a look at history!
South Korea and Cannabis – A Glimpse to the Past
Korea has a long but almost overlooked history with the cannabis plant. Korean people know it as 대마초 – “Dae ma cho“ (pronounced day maa cho; from the Chinese da ma). It was usually found breeding wild everywhere in the country.
Since biblical times, marijuana was an essential material for Koreans. People grew hemp for indigenous usage and traded with Japan and China for ages. Korean people utilized hemp for clothing, weaving, netting, rope, and medicine.
The solid fabric made of hemp worked as a material for the well-known traditional Korean suit hanbok. People used hemp seeds as a remedy.
People also utilized hemp for paper making. Buddhist scripts were of great significance and had to be written on high-quality paper.
The Koreans considered cannabis as a pious plant, and they had a goddess that people thought to be the protector of harvest. The deity — called Magu — symbolized the value of marijuana in Korean farming.
Throughout the Japanese rule in Korea in the 20th century, the Japanese administration supported hemp cultivation, and Koreans proceeded to cultivate and utilize the plant.
Cannabis remained legal even after the Second World War, but the government rigidly controlled cannabis usage. The Korean peninsula division divided the nations, and the intervention of foreign authorities later brought new laws.
People used both hemp and cannabis until 1976 when the South Korean president Park Chung-hee implied the Cannabis Control Act. Under the new legislation, the authorities outlawed marijuana completely. The hemp production fell under strict restrictions.
Things haven’t evolved much since then. Today, South Korea supports hemp farming for fiber and seeds but frowns upon anything associated with marijuana.
Recreational Marijuana Laws in South Korea
The Republic of Korea, better known as South Korea, has taken a significant move concerning marijuana law. South Korea became the first nation in East Asia to legalize medical marijuana.
On November 23, the nation replaced its national drug policy to enable the import and distribution of cannabis oil to relieve many diseases.
South Korea has a past of stringent legislation and implementation of cannabis offenses and has no plans to allow adult-use weed.
Smokers can face five years in jail and penalties of more than $40,000, or more than $50 million won. The government has announced it will arrest residents for using weed in Canada and other countries where recreational cannabis is legal.
“Weed smokers will be punished according to Korean law, even if they did so in countries where smoking marijuana is legal. There won’t be an exception,” said Yoon Se-jin, head of the narcotics crime investigation department at Gyeonggi Nambu provincial police agency.
Medical Marijuana – Legal or Illegal?
With huge governance and severe punishments, why did the South Korean administration had a change of heart?
Medical cannabis: Hope or hype?
From 15 seizures a day to none on some days – this is the difference that CBD oil has made to the life of Ian, a young boy in South Korea
Several countries around Singapore are legalising medical cannabishttps://t.co/aiAZ1Cyxs7
— End Prohibition (@afterprohibends) December 2, 2019
Many experts believe that the incident with Dr. Joo-Yeon Hwang and her son had a significant impact on why the South Korean government reviewed the value of medical marijuana.
Hwang is an obstetrician-gynecologist and has a seven-year-old boy who undergoes a rare and insurgent form of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS).
After getting different types of medicine and even brain operation, her son’s difficulties still continued.
She discovered the effectiveness of cannabis oil in healing epilepsy symptoms from the analysis in other nations and ordered it overseas in 2017.
After his mind waves became more durable and obtained approval from his doctor to take cannabis oil, Hwang ordered more CBD oil online.
However, she never got it as it grabbed federal prosecutors’ attention and interviewed her over trying to “smuggle drugs into South Korea.”
Watch an interview with her here!
Bill to Authorize Medicinal Cannabis
Hwang is not the only one who tried to bring CBD oil into South Korea. In 2017 only, the Korea Customs Service caught 80 cases of civilians trying to get medicinal marijuana products at terminals and seaports.
Shin Chang-Hyun is a democratic member of the National Assembly in South Korea. He submitted the bill in January 2018 that would authorize the usage of marijuana for medical objectives.
Shin Chang-Hyun stated that it began with a high-profile instance of a mother last year who was caught trying to sneak cannabis oil into South Korea for her sick child.
He continued that they decided to push for this bill after thinking about the families who were willing to break the rules and face the consequences to bring back medicinal marijuana for their family members who were ill.
Currently, the Narcotics Control Act Amendment grants some marijuana products authorized and marketed in particular countries.
They facilitate imports through the Korea Orphan Drug Centre – a government organization that expedites patient access to rare medications.
The list currently covers the following:
|Name of the Medicine||Ingredient||Usage|
|1||Epidolex||CBD||for patients undergoing from epilepsy|
|2||Cesamet||Nabilone||to prevent nausea and vomiting for patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer|
|3||Marinol||Dronabinol||to stop nausea and vomiting for patients feeling anorexia nervosa from AIDS|
|4||Canemes||Nabilone||to prevent nausea and vomiting for patients undergoing chemotherapy for malignant tumors|
|5||Sativex||THC/CBD||for patients suffering multiple sclerosis|
Patients with “rare or incurable diseases” must present the following to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety if they want to use medical marijuana:
- A common application
- A doctor’s analysis, which must include the name of the medicine, dosage, number of doses per day, and total days of treatment
- The patient’s medicinal records, along with a doctor’s note stating that no alternate medicine is accessible in South Korea.
However, according to the Marijuana Business Daily Report, South Korea only saw 300 authorized imports of cannabinoid-based medications in the first few months. This volume underwhelmed local experts who anticipated demand to be much higher.
Hemp and CBD
Now, hemp is subject to stringent laws. You won’t like yourself getting caught with cannabis in South Korea.
When it comes to CBD, the rules were almost as strict as those on weed. The government of South Korea finally allowed the medical usage of CBD at the end of 2018. However, there is a big stumbling block between the full legalization of weed.
South Korea observes harsh laws on CBD products and only admits its use with a medical prescript.
The Korean Orphan Drug Center (KODC) and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) control the medical marijuana system of South Korea.
The KODC is a government organization that helps access rare medicines. Mutually with the MFDS, they choose if a patient is qualified to import and use a particular CBD drug.
Buying Cannabis in South Korea
Weed seeds are legal to possess in South Korea. You can keep seeds, roots, or stem to make rope, textiles, and other products made from hemp fiber.
However, germinating marijuana seeds into cannabis plants in South Korea is extremely illegal. If the administrator suspects you of buying them with the intention to cultivate marijuana, you might fall into trouble.
There are no South Korean cannabis seed banks at present. Some global seed banks will ship weed seeds there. When buying cannabis seeds in nations with strict anti-cannabis policies, the stealth shipping service can be just as valuable as the seed quality.
Few extremely good seedbanks such as Crop King and MSNL will ship to your doorstep under the government’s nose!
Black Market and Smuggling of Weed
Legalizing marijuana in an increasing number of nations has led to a higher percentage of weed smuggling into or within South Korea.
The Port of Seoul is a frequently-used drug-smuggling spot between China and Japan, but the police impose hefty fines if they catch you engaged in such activities.
Many overseas-based websites promote marijuana delivery anywhere in South Korea within one hour. In some popular nightlife places in Seoul, such as Hong-Dea Club Street, you may be able to purchase a joint or hash on the street.
Many of these street dealers are Canadian and African visitors hanging out at hookah bars or reggae cafes. The quality of cannabis available from these illicit sources is often low.
Also Read: Buy the Best Cannabis Seeds in Japan in 2021
Buying CBD Products
You cannot buy CBD in South Korea without the authorities’ approval. If you do it without it, the law considers it as a severe violation of the rule.
Don’t risk importing or purchasing CBD without an approved permit!
The law implementation in South Korea is firm. If you try to mess up, you might end up in jail for up to five years, or give a massive fine of ₩100,000 to ₩200,000 ($90,000 to $100,000).
CBD laws in South Korea are expected to improve soon. In the near future, you’ll be able to shop for more CBD products online.
What do Korean People Think about Marijuana?
At present, most South Koreans perceived marijuana as very negative. It is to that level where they consider the plant as a Class A drug, that includes heroin and crystal meth.
Park Chung-hee’s big announcement, along with the lack of data and proper guidance, generated fear enclosing the stigma of cannabis in modern South Korea in the last four decades since the passing of the Cannabis Control Act.
Many people seem to believe it’s very dangerous or addictive. While some even stated that smoking or consuming weed produces illusions and be sexually aggressive.
According to the Korea Exposé report, smoking cannabis was common among successful South Korea entertainers in the 1970s. Celebrities underwent illegal arrests and torture. When they got released, their fame was smeared with negative statements.
With the westernization of South Korea, mainly after the Korean war (June 1950 – July 1953), many South Koreans have got a chance to understand different cultures where cannabis was more lenient and accepted.
The globalization of the K-pop industry has expanded over the past ten years, and amidst this, hip-hop is a commanding part of the music genre.
YG Entertainment, one of the greatest music organizations for K-pop, is the forefront of the popularisation of hip-hop music in South Korea. But lately, the firm is now infamous for being a “Yak Guk,” Korean for “drugstore,” after being accused in many drug scandals.
Korean Cannabinoid Association (KCA)
Dr. Kwon Yong-hyun started the Korean Cannabinoid Association (KCA) in 2018. The aim was to raise awareness and to support the further legalization of medical marijuana.
Since the organization came into effect, the KCA has started a pilot program for importing, supplying and managing marijuana medicines with the MFDS.
PRASM conducted the project. It is an AI-based decentralized bioinformatic system that utilizes blockchain technology.
The network controls the entire delivery process, safely preserves patients’ data to clarify the distribution methods, and store biometrics and records of prescript and allocation of patients into blockchain ledgers.
Dr. Kwon said at a news conference that because of the prejudice that hemp is a drug, Korean medical society has been resistant to conduct any clinical studies that could prove the therapeutic benefits of medical hemp.
He continued that they are aware that most of the public is worried about people abusing cannabis if it becomes legalized for medicinal purposes.
The KCA has also alleged that the bill has yet to help patients even after several months of legalization due to the strict limitations of the government and high prices.
The community has been fighting for permission to support domestic production and manufacture, so prescriptions, including CBD, can be more convenient and lower costs.
What is the Future of Cannabis in South Korea?
In a recent discussion with Asian Americans for Cannabis Education (AACE), Sung Seok-Kang, a spokesperson for the KCA, said that the UN would vote to update the Single Convention on Drugs and the Convention of Psychotropic Substances. Once the authority set the program worldwide, the cannabis business can grow in many forms in South Korea.
The future of legalizing recreational weed looks hazy in South Korea. The next level for medical marijuana would be to manage internal production and manufacturing in a few years.
Overcoming social stigma, instructing the people, and normalizing the safe therapeutic use of marijuana must be the next steps to build the much needed economic growth provided by the plant.
South Korea is one of the most stringent nations that have legalized medicinal CBD. The government took charge of building a reliable medical marijuana system. They want to have full control over everything to stop illegal imports.
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- 1 South Korea and Cannabis – A Glimpse to the Past
- 2 Recreational Marijuana Laws in South Korea
- 3 Medical Marijuana – Legal or Illegal?
- 4 Hemp and CBD
- 5 Buying Cannabis in South Korea
- 6 What do Korean People Think about Marijuana?
- 7 What is the Future of Cannabis in South Korea?
- 8 Final Thoughts