South Korea legalized medical cannabis this week, laying the foundation for reform in Southeast Asia. The region is presently known for having some of the most oppressive anti-cannabis laws in the world.
The legislative language will keep tight restrictions on what the medical cannabis program will look like.
Patients must receive a recommendation from a physician, and then obtain approval from a government agency called the "Korea Orphan Drug Center." The agency is the gatekeeper for more specialized medicines; earlier this year, South Korea opened the door to allowing patients access to cannabis-based pharmaceutical drugs, like Epidiolex.
According to a translated version of the National Assembly's amendment to the Act on the Management of Narcotic Drugs, lawmakers specifically mention "hemp," or a non-psychoactive form of cannabis. The approved amendment will allow for only the import of hemp products, like hemp-derived CBD oil.
The amendment was introduced in January by Democratic Party of Korea Representative Shin Chang-hyun. “It is known that cannabis oil is a drug that has been proven to be effective against other drugs, such as narcotics,” he said earlier this year.
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