South Koreans thinking about a trip to Canada for a little marijuanacation might want to reconsider their travel plans.
Despite cannabis being legal in Canada, the South Korea recently reminded its citizens that smoking pot abroad and returning home is very much illegal.
“Even if South Koreans are in a region where marijuana is legal, it will be illegal for them to consume it,” the South Korean Embassy in Canada said on Twitter. “Please take care not to commit an illegal act and be punished.”
Even with cannabis legalization in Canada, taking #cannabis across the Canadian border remains illegal and can result in serious criminal penalties both at home and abroad. https://t.co/Y9mRyjIUA0 #Marijuana pic.twitter.com/jockjYleTE
— Canada in Korea (@CanEmbKorea) October 23, 2018
And it’s not just a slap on the wrist, either. According to the Toronto Star, growing, possessing, transporting or consuming marijuana is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine of up to 50 million won, about $44,000 under the country’s strict narcotics law. That’s right, cannabis is considered a narcotic in South Korea. Usually, the term is reserved for such heavy-hitters as heroin.
South Korea’s narcotics law is notoriously omnipresent, meaning citizens must adhere to the criminal code regardless of where they are in the world or what the local laws are. Another notable example is South Korea’s law against gambling – those caught visiting casinos abroad are subject to punishment upon their return.
It should be noted that the government is hunting people down and testing them. Those with a marijuana past, or who boast about their pot consumption online, are of course easy targets.
Last year, the South Korean government issued 1,044 marijuana-related charges.