Communist Cannabis: Is North Korea A Legal Marijuana State?
Posted by Catelyn Snow | 119382 views
By Catelyn Snow
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When you think of North Korea, images of marching militaristic crowds and thoughts of an oppressive dictatorship may come to mind; but perhaps we should also be imagining puffs of smoke wafting up from the masses a la Burning Man, because North Koreans, while still living in an oppressive dictatorship, have the freedom to light up marijuana (called ip tambae or "leaf tobacco") whenever they like.
As reported in NK News, visitors to North Korea (of which there are few) tell stories of marijuana plants growing freely by roadsides in both rural and urban areas, and of a country in which plant-derived "drugs" like marijuana and opium are perfectly legal and socially acceptable for use.
This may seem ironic to those of us in the Western world who see North Korea as having about the most tyrannical government on the planet. However, there has never been a statute in the country for outlawing plants that they do not see as harmful (what a concept) and marijuana is a widespread, acceptable alternative to tobacco, which is much more expensive and hazardous to the health of citizens.
During the Korean War, U.S. soldiers were known to pick buds from flowering marijuana plants along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ; the current border between North and South Korea) and light up after a long day of war. Today, citizens of the North do the same after a long day of hard labor for Dear Leader.
But don't book that trip yet. Firstly, the marijuana that they have is more reminiscent of the weaker strains of yesteryear than the super potent buds that we are growing here in medical marijuana-legal states. Cannabis growing on the side of the road will never compete with hydroponically-grown super-bud.
Secondly, locals seem to do their best to keep their cannabis to themselves and are not quick to tell their few Western visitors where to find marijuana: they do not want to be the next Amsterdam.
What they are, however, is an example of how even the most repressive regime can realize that some "drugs" are not harmful and that their people should have the right to consume these things. So while most drugs remain harshly banned within the country (especially methamphetamine, which has been a special thorn in the sides of North Korean police), marijuana remains legal and inexpensive.
For All The Latest Information on the Inner Workings of the Hermit Kingdom, visit NK News
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Wednesday, 23 January 2013
Article by Catelyn Snow, on Jan. 23rd 2013