Overseas, a Greener Perspective on Cannabis
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 10/09/2013 in Medical Marijuana Trends
Picture a lush land where hemp culture is booming with business. A place on our planet where marijuana is not policed, and for that matter, not even viewed as a drug. Not only is cultivating and smoking marijuana an entirely legal process in this part of the world, but it is encouraged. In one of the most notoriously authoritarian regions in the world, marijuana is viewed as nothing more than a necessary night-cap to end a stressful day; a medicine for the people without the prescription. For a country flooded with government control, North Korea’s lenient policy on marijuana usage is shockingly liberal.
Tourists have reported sightings of tall marijuana plants freely gracing the roadsides, where its sweet scent entraps its inquiring onlookers. The taboo and stigma do not exist, as the plant is commonly referred to as ip tambae, or “leaf tobacco.” Far from the militaristic drug testing of the west, marijuana is often used amongst youth military soldiers in North Korea. Inadvertently or not, the plant works to keep servicemen off of nicotine during the long days of work.
Marijuana use is therefore viewed through a different lens in North Korea than it is in the states. It is less of a ‘recreational’ substance as we have come to know it and more of an over-the-counter healer overseas. It is used predominantly by the working class citizens and service industry workers who praise the plant as a natural remedy. It is viewed as a healthy way to unwind, while utilizing its healing properties to soothe aches and pains brought on by physical labor.
A possible theory for their incredibly laid back views on marijuana could be that other, far more powerful drugs are becoming an epidemic in North Korea. The use of crystal meth, for example, is becoming increasingly problematic in that part of the world. It is not only its true recognition which makes a bold statement, but its classification – or lack thereof. What accounts for the stark difference is not the quality of the plant, but rather the widely public acknowledgement of its healing properties. An agnowledgment which, sadly, has yet to be vastly accepted in the west.
The Rodong Sinmun newspaper doubles as rolling papers for many North Korean marijuana users. And though marijuana naturally grows along the peninsula in Korea, it is commonly cultivated within the confines of private gardens. Smokers are given little, if any restriction on places in which they can enjoy lighting up throughout the country. Local markets profit greatly from the plant sales and because the cultivation is all done by hand, countless job opportunities are introduced. In other words, in North Korea, marijuana is utilized for the benefit of the society at large. It is viewed as a cash crop, a medicine, and a natural therapeutic. And while sources have suggested North Korea’s marijuana is not as strong as what’s grown in the western world, its startlingly cheap prices make up for any disparities.
Perhaps this speaks to our priorities as a country. Eliminating the negative stigma for recreational users is not a concern overseas, unlike in the western world. As every country must pick and choose their battles, we are presented with a primary example of global perspective. Something which holds such legal weight and deeply negative connotation in one country is not only accepted but promoted in other parts of the world. It is an epidemic when it is nearly any other drug in existence; it is only a statistic when it is marijuana.