In a move that caught most of the world by surprise, South Korea has taken the first step in passing laws allowing limited use of medical marijuana, making history as the first east asian country to do so.
For years, South Korea has had some of the harshest anti drug laws in the world and even though this amendment only allows for minute doses of THC, it is a huge breakthrough for the region as the world watches legalization spread across the globe.
First reported by MJbizdaily, amendments to the 'Act on the Management of Narcotic Drugs', which have been on the table since 2015, finally got the votes needed from the National Assembly to advance and will need to be voted on by the State Council and signed by the President before anything is written into law.
The details of the the bill and its amendments can be found here.
The Act on the Management of Narcotic Drugs was amended to allow for very small, "non hallucinogenic" applications of THC to the sickest patients in South Korea. Epilepsy is one of the qualifying illnesses that doctors hope to treat with this new medicine.
Access to the drug will be severely restricted and will require patients who have already obtained a recommendation for medical cannabis to then apply for a license through the Korea Orphan Drug Center. Ultimately, it is up to South Koreas's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to determine who gets a license and what the regulations for the newly created market should be.
Will this lead to more countries in the region lightening their stance on marijuana? Currently, Uruguay and Chile both legalized marijuana while Columbia, Canada, Jamaica, Australia and the Czech Republic all allow cannabis to be used either medically or recreationally. It seems inevitable that a global policy to adopt marijuana is on the way and we can confidently say it began here in the United States!