While medical cannabis might soon be legal for patients in South Korea, those who have travelled to Canada (which recently legalised cannabis in its entirety) have been banned from using it.
The South Korean Embassy in Canada tweeted last month:
South Korean Embassy in Canada warns overseas citizens about trying legal Canadian cannabis
“Even if you are in a cannabis legalization area, please be aware that if you are a citizen and caught smoking cannabis (including purchase, possession or transportation), you will be penalized for committing a criminal offence.”
South Korea may be the first to legalise medical cannabis products, if it passes the bill quickly. Other Asian countries, including Thailand and Malaysia, are also looking at passing similar acts.
According to a Thai official, a draft bill now under consideration proposes allowing medical cannabis products.
Speaking to Time, Jet Sirathraanon, the public health committee chair of Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly, stressed that cannabis would only be legal “for medication only, not for recreation.” He did, however, add that legalisation could be an economic boon and “an opportunity for Thai people.”
Last year, Rangsit University founded a research team to study cannabis’ medical properties and potential, securing permission from Thailand’s narcotics-control board to create a cannabinoid-extracted spray for cancer patients.
In April, the university’s rector called on Thailand’s military leaders to legalize medical cannabis.
Discussing the importance of the medical cannabis act passing its preliminary stage, Vijay Sappani, CEO of Toronto-based Ela Capital, a venture capital firm exploring emerging markets in the cannabis space, commented:
“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.
“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.”
With more and more countries around the world legalising cannabis for medical purposes, the UK could be left behind. While the Government announced on 1 November that patients can now legally access medical cannabis, the reality is far from it. Parents of severely epileptic children are unable to secure prescriptions, leaving their children to suffer while waiting.