Thursday, November 29, 2018

South Korea becomes first East Asian Country to Legalize Medical Marijuana

South Korea has become the first east Asian country to legalise medical cannabis in a surprising move to expand the treatment options for patients with epilepsy and other rare diseases in the conservative country.

The country’s national assembly approved amending the Act on the Management of Narcotic Drugs on Friday to allow non-hallucinogenic doses of medical marijuana.

Still, using weed even for medical purpose will be strictly controlled with patients required to apply to the Korea Orphan Drug Centre, a government body facilitating patient access to rare medicines, after receiving a doctor’s prescription. Approval will be granted on a case-by-case basis, according to the country’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

South Korea has some of the toughest rules on cannabis consumption with citizens prosecuted for using weed in other countries where recreational marijuana is legalised.

Under the country’s anti-drug laws, smoking and trading marijuana remains illegal with those found guilty facing up to five years in prison. Two other countries in the region – Thailand and Malaysia – are moving towards legalisation of medical marijuana.