Eastern Asia has always been known to be very strict enforcing cannabis violations but South Korea could be a pioneer in accepting the benefits of medical marijuana. Last week, the South Korean National Assembly approved an Amendment to the Narcotics Control Act to approve the use of medical marijuana.
This a massive step in normalizing the perception of medical marijuana on the world stage, especially in more traditional countries. While the amendment must still be deliberated on by the State Council and signed by the President, it will likely become law be early next year.
Once the new amendment is passed into law, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety will be responsible for establishing a regulatory for framework for patients who qualify and distribution. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety spokesman said that there would be more details as to the framework in the days to come.
Medical marijuana will surely be highly restricted but the fact that it was approved is major step forward for any eastern society. It is likely that CBD and THC products will be imported starting next year but they will definitely prioritize products that have been previously approved in Western Europe and the United States.
The importation of all cannabis related products will be handled by the Korea Orphan Drug Center which provides medication to patients with rare and terminal diseases. In early July, the MFDA announced their support of cannabis infused medications including: Epidiolex, Marinol, Cesamet and Sativex for certain medical conditions including epilepsy, symptoms of HIV/AIDS and cancer-related treatments such as chemotherapy.
Vijay Sappani, CEO of Ela Capital, noted that, “The importance of Korea being the first country in East Asia to allow medical cannabis at a federal level should not be understated. Now it’s a matter of when other Asian countries follow South Korea, not if.”
The spokesman for the Organization of Legalizing Medical Cannabis, Rev. Sungseok Kang, stated that “medical marijuana is ‘a big step,’ but much detail needs to be sorted out regarding the regulations and little has been released beyond what is stated in the revision bill.”