Next month, South Korea will become the first East Asian country to allow cannabis-based medicines to cross its borders. Last November, lawmakers approved a bill amending the country’s Act on the Management of Narcotic Drugs “to allow non-hallucinogenic doses of medical cannabis.” This week, health officials announced that the new law will go into effect on March 12th, and imports of select forms of cannabis are expected to begin shortly thereafter.
Although this new law represents one of the most liberal approaches to cannabis ever seen in East Asia, it is actually one of the world’s most restrictive medical marijuana programs. The country’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) will only allow the import of medical marijuana products that have received government approval from major world powers like the U.S. or the U.K. This restriction currently limits imports to two synthetic cannabinoids – Marinol and Cesamet – and two cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals – Sativex and Epidiolex.
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