Great story. Here it is for the people who hate links. Thanks again Moldy!
Courtesy of NKNews.Org
Struggle Is The Enemy, Weed Is The Remedy: The Truth About Marihuana in North Korea High Times In The Hermit Kingdom
by Benjamin R. Young , January 15, 2013
You might be surprised by what were about to say: the most tight-lipped, conservative and controlling country in the world is also a weed-smokers paradise. Despite the North Korean governments deadly serious stance on the use and distribution of hard drugs like crystal meth (which has its own inauspicious legacy in the North), marijuana is reportedly neither classified illegal or in any way policed. The herb of the bohemian and free is not even considered a drug. As a result, its the discerning North Korean gentlemans roll-up of choice, suggesting that for weed smokers at least, North Korea might just be paradise after all.
NK NEWS receives regular reports from visitors returning from North Korea, who tell us of marijuana plants growing freely along the roadsides, from northern port town Chongjin, right down to the streets of Pyongyang, where it is smoked freely and its sweet scent often catches your nostrils unannounced.
There is no taboo around pot smoking in the country many North Koreans know the drug exists and have smoked it. In North Korea, the drug goes by the name of ip tambae or leaf tobacco. It is reported to be especially popular amongst young soldiers in the North Korean military rather than getting hooked on tar & nicotine like their contemporaries in the West, they fraternize without fear of repercussion by lighting up king-sized doobies during down time on the military beat.
Despite the fact the government does not crackdown on the use of the marijuana (or opium) and its prevalence amongst the common people, all you groups of dreadlocked California hippies and Burning Man festival survivors hoping to book yourselves onto a spliff-sampling tour after reading this are likely to be disappointed. If a Western tourist asks his or her guide where is the best place to get the special plant, as it is euphemistically referred to, the guide will most likely eschew the question. Theyre likely well enough educated in Western legal attitudes towards marijuana to not feel the need to promote anything that might draw any more negative press. Then again, bring them a bottle of Hennessy, and they might be more willing to help you out.
The reason for smoking weed in North Korea differs from America. In North Korea, you dont smoke weed purely to get high and laugh at your own hand, you do it to save money and as a break from the ubiquitous cheap local cigarettes that do more damage than good. In the black markets of North Korea, marijuana is commonly sold at a cheap price and is easily obtainable. Therefore, the drug is especially popular among the lower classes of North Korean society. After a day of hard manual labor, it is common for North Korean workers to smoke marijuana as a way to relax and soothe tight or sore muscles.
One of the great bits of North Korean mythology weve all heard a million times is that citizens may not fold their newspapers lest they accidentally fold a picture of the leaders. But luckily not every page features those powerful, attention-seeking bossmen, so all the papers more easily recyclable parts (sports, weather, TV listings) end up being used to roll up tobacco and marijuana.
The Rodong Sinmun newspaper is the favored rolling paper of many North Korean smokers, it is cut up into squares then rolled into small, cone-shaped spliffs. A source confirmed to NK NEWS that they had found a half lit joint on the ground in a rural area of the country with the Rodong Sinmunused as the rolling paper. The same source noted that, although it is easy to get hold of, the weed in North Korea isnt actually that strong. Another reason for Californian hippies to stay at home, then.
Weed grows naturally on the Korean peninsula and although marijuana sprouts wildly around Chongjin for anyone to pick casually, near the outskirts areas do appear to be being cultivated more formally. The herb is commonly grown in the private gardens of many North Koreans: an American who travels every year to North Korea commented on Reddit that, We came to a garden one day and took one look and said, that is weed! We went over and sure enough they were growing marijuana. I had heard it is used for medicine but finding it was interesting.
Reports of marijuana use date right back to the formation of the nation as it exists today. After the Korean War, U.S. soldiers commonly plucked the herb from the DMZ areas near the North Korean border and smoked it, with stories of tents being hotboxed by tired fighters now a common recollection in the folklore of the difficult era.
Meanwhile back in the West, with the recent legalization of marijuana in Washington state and Colorado, some Americans are clamoring for legalization of the herb across the whole country. While this remains a controversial issue, the fact that marijuana appears to be commonly used in North Korea as a casual, cheap escape from an otherwise tight controlled society suggests that for all the other worries they have to put up with, they do enjoy at least one perk denied to people like me living here in The Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.
Is this an attestation of benefits or an example of was to oppress a people... That is rhetorical of course. I think its a combination of both. The benefit of psychological and physical pain relieve is unprecedented among pharmaceuticals. This might be a clear dispute of the governments fears. Also I have just burnt some homegrown and am thinking way deeper than my pay grade..
Deadly...hard to believe too. Be happy people in the U.S; there's not even medicinal use here in the U.K...it sucks big fuckin testicles. Growing is a big no, especially in N.I...horrible situation. So be happy there! It may not be legal (or North Korea!) but it's a damn sight better than here....
It sounds crazy, but there is good reason to suspect that this story, in the prominent South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, could be true. According to the story, North Korea ordered its diplomats in some number of foreign embassies, including at least one in Eastern Europe, to sell illegal drugs on the streets. The diplomats, according to a defector who spoke to South Korean intelligence, were each sent abroad with 20 kilograms (about 44 pounds) of drugs and were told to raise $300,000 from the sales.
In case that is not weird enough for you, the diplomats were told that they were being asked to forgo their ambassadorial responsibilities in favor of pushing illicit drugs in order to prove their loyalty and mark the birthday of nation founder Kim Il Sung on April 15.Thats a pretty sharp deadline for selling a relatively large amount drugs in a foreign country (and strikingly similar to the plot of Half Baked, a 1998 Dave Chappelle comedy in which he must rapidly sell $1 million in marijuana to bail out his friend). The story estimates that a single embassy might enlist 10 of its diplomats as drug dealers, an earning potential of $3 million per foreign mission.
If it is true, it would be an extension of North Koreas practice of selling state-manufactured drugs, typically high-quality meth, in China. Why not start selling the drugs in even wealthier countries? North Korea desperately needs hard currency literal paper cash to make up for its economic isolation. While most of the country suffers in absolute poverty, Pyongyang runs a parallel mini-economy to keep ruler Kim Jong Un and his inner circle living in luxury. A secretive government office called Room 39″ manages illicit income, from such sources as meth exports (estimated worth: $100 million to $200 million per year) or scamming foreign businesses, which it then uses to quietly import high-quality food and liquor for Kims court. The money could also potentially be spent on the countrys weapons program.
Products from the state-run meth labs, though, are starting to trickle out into North Korean society. Journalist Isaac Stone Fish reported in 2011 for Newsweek that many North Koreans, because they lack access to basic medicines or health care but have relatively easy access to the drug they call ice, have started using meth as a sort of cure-all. People with chronic disease take it until theyre addicted, one NGO worker with experience in the country told Fish. They take it for things like cancer. This drug is their sole form of medication.And yet the state is making more of the drug, pushing it out across its embassies, to fuel the illicit Room 39″ economy and keep Kim Jong Un in caviar and brandy. Its too bad that Pyongyang doesnt have as much interest in mass-producing, for example, cancer medication or agricultural fertilizer.
thats so crazy that it has to be true. I mean these people are fucking CRAZY. Plus they have diplomatic protection don't forget so entirely plausible. Also believable enough that one guy would say I'm not selling drugs for a fat guys luxurys