View from under the canopy of a licensed indoor cannabis grow operation.

Sarah Climaco

South Korea Lawmaker Pushing for MMJ Reforms

A South Korean lawmaker is urging his colleagues to legalize cannabis for medical use, saying that the nation’s drug laws are having adverse effects and leading to arrests of people buying hemp oil, according to Korea Biomedical Review.

“The law strictly forbids the sale and purchase of cannabis, which led to a recent case of a mother being arrested and sentenced in court for buying cannabis oil from abroad to treat her son with brain cancer.” – Rep. Shin Chang-hyun in the Review report

Under the proposal, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety would need to approve the medical conditions for access to the program. Under current laws, cocaine, morphine, and opium are allowed to be used in some medical cases; however, cannabis remains banned.

Cannabis is the second most smuggled illicit drug in South Korea – behind methamphetamines – according to Korea Customs Service data, comprising 13.6 kilograms of the roughly 70 kilograms of illegal drugs discovered by customs officials last year, the report says.

The KCS claims that California legalization could lead to more cannabis being sent to South Korea because the state has the U.S.’s largest Korean community.

The reforms face long odds, however, as the nation has a reputation as a “drug-free” country and has a particularly hardline stance against cannabis.

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