Here’s the Deal with Pot in North Korea

Photo by Vortex Farmacy.

In 1962, American soldier Allen Abshier, stationed in South Korea, defected to the ironically-named Democratic People’s Republic of Korea—AKA (the completely non-democratic) North Korea—in order to avoid court-martial charges, after having been caught smoking marijuana five or six times. Presumably, he was allowed to smoke freely in the country where he sought asylum.

It is surprising that a regime as diabolically punishing as the one that arrested and detained college student Otto Warmbier, for allegedly stealing a poster from his hotel room while on vacation, would be so open about cannabis. (Tragically, after 17 months in prison, Otto Warmbier succumbed to injuries sustained in captivity and died a few days after his release.)

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Does North Korea Have a More Tolerant Pot Policy than South Korea?

Well, absolutely not, but you could be forgiven for thinking so, based on a cursory review of recent headlines.

Although it hasn’t made much of splash stateside, the big news in South Korea this week is the “marijuana scandal” surrounding a singer from the suggestively named K-pop boy-band Big Bang, who goes by the stage-name T.O.P.

He could face five years in the slammer after a hair follicle test by the Seoul Metropolitan Police yielded positive results for cannabis. He was fingered for the test after a young woman busted for “liquid marijuana” (presumably some kind of extract) named him as the supplier, according to Korea Portal.

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Report: North Korea Fueling Drones with Pot

Despite a deep abiding fascination and efforts of varying degrees of sophistication and success to find out, few people really knows what goes on inside North Korea, aside from North Koreans. 

And since citizens living in the world’s last remaining true communist state—with an economy that’s nearly totally state-controlled, and a cult of personality not seen elsewhere in the Communist world since the “glory” days of Mao, Fidel Castro and Ho Chi Minh—are subject to repression and information control reminiscent of the dystopian film of your choice, North Koreans can’t be entirely sure what’s going on, either.

So when you read headlines like this report attributed to Radio Free Asia (which is unabashedly pro-U.S. in its slant) and picked up by UPI—“North Korea cultivating marijuana to fuel drones”—well, what can you say? It’s crazy, but maybe it’s true. You don’t know!

Read more at High Times