Your trusty Daily Leaf correspondent has recently found himself spending few days in Seoul, South Korea. As is often the case for cannabis aficionados, he quickly did a bit of research upon arrival to scope out the possibility and wisdom of trying to cop a sack. After a bit of googling and some conversations with locals, he learned a few things that surprised him.
- Americans can go to Korean jail for smoking legal weed in America
Korea’s anti-marijuana laws are so strict that police can jail you for five years if they find THC in a hair sample. That means that even if you toked up a couple of times last summer, you could still end up facing five years in prison if you have any run-ins with local law enforcement.
- Koreans can go to jail without a positive test for THC
News reports don’t make it clear exactly how he was even caught, but South Korean rapper Crown J was imprisoned for eight months, sentenced to two years probation, 80 hours community service, and fined. What did he do? Reportedly, he smoked marijuana twice, in his house, while recording an album in Atlanta, Georgia back in 2010.
- Only the rich can buy weed in Korea
Chatting with a few acquaintances in Seoul who were former stoners when they lived in Europe, they told us that they’ve gone cold turkey in Korea. Is it because they’re afraid of the steep penalties? Nope. They’re just not willing to pay $100 a gram for what is, reportedly schwag.
- Despite all this, you can probably get away just fine with walking down the street, joint in hand
Because of the heavy penalties, high cost, and social stigma, most Korean have never smelled the ganja smoke in their lives. This means that if you were to walk down the street smoking a joint, you might well get away unscathed: most people won’t recognize the smell.