While much of the marijuana media has reported over the course of the past year that weed is fully legal in the communist dictatorship of North Korea, all of those accounts have been false.
According to the Associated Press, marijuana is still very much considered an illicit substance under the rule of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. In fact, much like the United States, the national penal code classifies marijuana under the same ranking as heroin.
Swedish Ambassador Torkel Stiernlof, the diplomat in charge of tending to Americans arrested for drug crimes in North Korea, says the possession and use of all drugs are highly illegal throughout the North, even marijuana.
“One can’t buy it legally and it would be a criminal offense to smoke it,” he said, adding that there is “no leniency whatsoever” shown to those American citizens busted for weed.
In spite of the reality that American citizens have been sentenced to hard time in North Korean prisons for ridiculous offenses, the phony tales surrounding the legal status of marijuana under the Juche has had no difficultly being swallowed and regurgitated by the masses.
Most recently, Radio Free Asia, a new source funded by the U.S. government, unleashed a story about how Chinese and Russian tourists have been enthusiastically purchasing weed in North Korea’s special economic zone of Rason.
But in actuality, the only green being traded in this massive marketplace is “hemp,” according to Troy Collings, managing director of Young Pioneer Tours.
“I’ve seen and even purchased hemp, but it doesn’t contain any THC and is just sold as a cheap substitute for tobacco,” he told the AP. “It grows wild in the mountainous regions of the North and people pick it, dry it and sell it in the markets, but it doesn’t get you high no matter how much you smoke.”
Hemp is an official product of North Korea, used in the manufacturing of various goods from food to clothing. Of course, while this industrial plant may resemble cannabis, it does not contain enough THC to get a person high.
Therefore, while the North’s hemp trade is most likely the culprit behind all of the misinformation being spread about weed being legal, make no mistake about it: North Korea is not on the verge of becoming the new Amsterdam…not even close.
“The idea that the country is full of stoners blissfully getting high in a legal-weed paradise is not an accurate one,” Simon Cockerell, general manager of Koryo Tours, told the AP.