Over the course of several years, the global marijuana debate has taken some interesting turns, particularly in the Asian-Pacific region of the world. Recently, Australia fully legalized medical cannabis and is preparing to conduct the first study of the drug’s effectiveness on brain tumors. Likewise, the Pacific Island Nation of Vanuatu has also permitted medical marijuana in light of a rise in diabetes. Still, these laws are confined to national laws and regulations and may change once a resident crosses borders. For example, Canadians can only carry cannabis on domestic flights (not international) and may face repercussions in the United States. In a similar fashion, Korean travelers might be facing more severe problems down the road, based on a recent story. Here is a closer look at why Koreans may face criminal charges if they visit other countries and smoke weed.
Trouble in Paradise
Back in August, the Korean Customs Service (through the Korean Times) announced that any Koreans who travel to Canada or other countries will not be allowed to smoke marijuana and anyone who has consumed the drug could face criminal charges. However, in a recent announcement, officials have laid down a stricter mandate. As dictated by Yoon Se-jin (Head of the Narcotics Crime Investigation Division at Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency), any Korean will face criminal charges for consuming weed (even in countries where the drug is 100% legal). No exceptions will be made.
As a whole, 250,000 Korean Canadians who call our northern neighbor home could face troubling issues, and this announcement also begs another question: what will happen to Canadians who come from other countries, overall? Unfortunately, the Canadian government pointed out that it cannot intervene in the Korean mandate. In another statement, Canadian officials explained that Canada is standing firm on international drug control and will continue to maintain a strong relationship with other countries (like Korea) for this benefit. For now, visitors will have to consider the travel advisory guide offered by the Canadian government.
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