Remember when Dennis Rodman visited North Korea to chill with Kim Jong-un? You know, the totalitarian dictator who likes to call himself the “Supreme Leader”? Yeah, North Korea doesn’t exactly have an international reputation for tolerance or acceptance. But maybe Rodman knew about something thousands of Chinese tourists are just beginning to discover. Weed is insanely cheap in North Korea. And that dirt cheap cannabis is attracting a shocking number of tourists.
Is Totalitarian North Korea A Cannabis Paradise?
Maybe that’s stretching things a bit. But the fact is, whether there are cannabis laws on the books in North Korea or not, no one seems to be enforcing them. In fact, the opposite seems to be the case. Farmers in rural areas along the border with Russia and China live in dire poverty. So in order to make some money, those farmers have turned to selling marijuana at bargain rates. According to a report from The Sun, a pound of cannabis can be bought for the dirt cheap price of just under $3 in US dollars. Yep, you read that right. That’s 16 ounces, or 448 grams of cannabis, for the shocking price of about three bucks. That seems dirt cheap to American readers. However, farmers in North Korea are actually making a decent living off of the cannabis trade.
But don’t buy your tickets to Asia just yet. China has very strict marijuana laws. Cannabis is highly illegal, and violators are harshly punished. Russia‘s rules on reefer aren’t much better. Still, that isn’t stopping thousands of Chinese tourists from buying up large quantities of cannabis and returning home to sell it for incredible profits. Besides that, North Korea is no paradise either. It’s a dictatorship and continues to commit terrible human rights violations. So it’s not really the best place for cannabis tourism.
Cannabis Is Pretty Normal In North Korea
The idea that farmers could get rich off of selling pot to Russian and Chinese foreigners is pretty new. Indeed, cannabis has been a pretty normal feature in North Korea for centuries. Because North Koreans view cannabis as totally ordinary, they do not classify it as an illicit narcotic like the United States and many other countries. And since North Koreans live in utter isolation from the rest of the world, most people there don’t even know it’s considered illegal and harmful in other places.
However, in North Korea, cannabis is classified as an “oilseed crop.” Oil is the keyword there. Because in the early 1980s, former supreme leader Kim Il-sung actively encouraged the cultivation of marijuana in order to solve a cooking oil shortage. Since, then, North Korean’s have been growing cannabis, or what they call yeoksam, legally.
Some people from that generation still grow cannabis to produce cooking oil. For others, it’s a sustainable source of food for farm animals like rabbits. Today, however, most farmers recognize its monetary value and grow cannabis in the wild for sale. According to stories from people who have defected from the North Korean regime, the plant is so prevalent that most people think it’s totally normal. Cannabis grows outdoors in an ideal climate and can be found pretty much everywhere.