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South Korea moved toward the legalization of medical cannabis and became the first East Asian country to legalize medical marijuana.

Korea’s move to legalize medical marijuana is “a big step,” but much detail requires to be sorted out concerning the regulations and little has been published beyond what is declared in the revision bill— Rev. Sung-seok Kang, with the Organization of Legalizing Medical Cannabis.

Medicinal marijuana can be imported from western countries such as the United States, Canada or those in Europe. However, the import of medical marijuana autoflower seeds and use of cannabis that has not been recommended for medical use in different countries will be stringently forbidden. The ministry said it would develop a system on details of the manner of importing medicinal-use marijuana.

Obtaining Medical Cannabis

Korean patients with epilepsy and other incurable diseases will be able to acquire medical marijuana. To receive cannabis-based pharmaceutical medicines, patients must present their medical records and a physician’s summary affirming that there is no alternative medication in Korea. A doctor’s diagnosis, which must carry the medicine’s name, dosage, number of doses per day and total days of treatment. If the papers are accepted by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, the patients can receive the medical marijuana from the Korea Orphan and Essential Drug Center, a government body authorized to facilitate patient admittance to rare medicines in the nation. Approval will be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Cannabis for medical use

The Ministry Of Food And Drug Safety Regulations On Cannabis-based medicines

Under the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) regulations, only specific cannabis products authorized and marketed in particular countries will be permitted. The record currently comprises of Cannabis-based drugs such as Sativex, Epidiolex, Marinol, and Cesamet, which have been allowed in Australia, France, Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The MFDS listed Dravet syndrome, epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, multiple sclerosis, and, symptoms of HIV/AIDS and cancer-related medications as qualifying health conditions if there is no alternative medicine already available in Korea.

Importing of Medical Marijuana from Other Countries

A groundbreaking law legalizing medical cannabis in South Korea that took effect last March 12 will pave the way for the initial import of certain THC- and CBD-based prescriptions.

As news spreads in and out the cannabis network, South Korea permitted the importation of medical cannabis as part of the applications to provide more treatment possibilities for patients with rare diseases. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced that the National Assembly has legislated a bill to revise a suitable law to permit imports and exports of non-hallucinogenic doses of medical marijuana for patients suffering from epilepsy and other rare diseases. The ministry is currently working to build complete importing schemes.

The progress notes a change in policy 50 years after Seoul banned all imports, exports, and production of marijuana. Under the country’s anti-drug laws, smoking and trading of cannabis for recreational purpose remain illegal with those found liable facing upwards of five years in prison.

The Support from Other Cannabis Firms

An Israeli cannabis firm and a Canadian private equity firm published proposals to supply the South Korean market with medical cannabis, though no particulars were presented on what will be provided in the information of the restrictions on recommended cannabis products by the ministry.

The Korean Cannabis Association arranged for the supply of high-quality medical cannabis, for the Korean market from Tikun Olam, a licensed cultivator of medical cannabis in Israel— the world’s foremost cannabis brand with partnerships in Canada, Australia, Germany, and South Africa among its usual bearers, and York Bridge Capital, a Canada-based private equity firm.

Application of medical marijuana

Another breakthrough in Medical Cannabis

Considering a notable breakthrough in the global industry and a likely a turning point in how cannabis is observed in traditionally conservative communities. The Korean National Assembly passed the Amendment to the Narcotics Control Act on Nov. 23 to acknowledge medical marijuana. As the National Assembly established a bill to revise the Act on the Management of Narcotic Drugs last Nov. 23, 2018, the sale, import and export, and to buy cannabis seeds for medical purposes will soon become legal.

Korean Stand for Recreational Use Of Cannabis

The cannabis plant alongside its conventional derivatives and extract, despite legal under the law, has yet to be confirmed. Notwithstanding the reform, recreational cannabis remains stringently prohibited by the law. A violation is punishable by up to five years in prison or a penalty of up to 50 million won.

Final Thought

“The importance of Korea being the first country in East Asia to allow medical cannabis at a federal level should not be understated.”

“South Korea legalizing medical cannabis, even if it will be tightly controlled with limited product selection, represents a significant breakthrough for the global cannabis industry,”— Vijay Sappani, CEO of Toronto-based Ela Capital, an investment resources firm exploring emerging markets in the cannabis network.

Natalie Gray

Natalie Gray is a Biochemical Engineer. She works in the Research and Development team that focuses on the design and construction of unit processes. She is a recreational marijuana supporter and her love for organic chemistry brought her to medical cannabis. She grows her own flowers, working on different projects and study everything above and under cannabis roots.

For more awareness and news follow me @


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