Is Cannabis legal in South Korea?

Medical marijuana was legalized in South Korea in 2018. However, recreational marijuana is illegal.

South Korea was the first country in East Asia to lift the ban on medical marijuana, which attracted a lot of attention at the time.

Recreational marijuana is strictly regulated in South Korea, and use of recreational marijuana carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of approximately $40,000.

In addition, the Korean government has repeatedly warned its citizens that their country’s laws apply if they use marijuana anywhere in the world. If you go to a country where marijuana is legal and use it in that country, you could be prosecuted upon your return.

While the CBD market is booming in the U.S., Canada and Europe, CBD is illegal in South Korea unless prescribed by a doctor. The potential of CBD is also expected in Korea, where the skin care industry is thriving, with many CBD-infused cosmetics being sold in Thailand and other countries.

In the near future, it is expected that CBD will be legalized in South Korea, and an environment that facilitates access to CBD will be established.

Medical marijuana in South Korea

In South Korea, medical marijuana was legalized in 2018 and introduced into the medical industry in earnest in 2020.

The use of medical marijuana is legal with the approval of the Food and Drug Safety Administration, and the four currently approved marijuana drugs are Epidiolex, Marinol, Sativex, and Cesamet. Medical marijuana treatment requires a doctor’s diagnosis and prescription and is intended for people with intractable diseases that have not improved with previous treatments. in June 2020, there were reportedly more than 300 medical marijuana prescriptions. However, due to the lack of physicians specializing in marijuana treatment, the challenge is to increase the number of physicians who are knowledgeable about medical marijuana in the future.

Medical marijuana has been legalized in South Korea and is used by patients with certain symptoms and diseases.

However, driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime, which, if convicted, carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of approximately $40,000.

In addition, medical marijuana cannot be used in public and is illegal to use in public.

CBD is illegal (medical use is legal)

CBD is illegal in South Korea. It is legal for medical use with a medical prescription.

In South Korea, hemp seed is legal and CBD is illegal: CBD is made from the leaves, flowers, and stems of Cannabis sativa, which have a higher concentration of CBD, while hemp seed can be obtained from the seeds of Cannabis sativa, which contain zero CBD.

Some products labeled “with CBD ingredients” in China and South Korea actually contain hemp seeds, not CBD.

Regulation of Marijuana Cultivation

In 2020, an unregulated marijuana cultivation zone was established in Gyeongbuk (Southeastern Province), located in the southeastern part of South Korea. This is a special zone established by the South Korean government where it is legal for licensed farmers to cultivate marijuana for medical purposes. Marijuana startup companies are using smart technology to grow medical marijuana.

Cultivation of recreational and medical marijuana by individuals is illegal and can result in up to five years in prison.


We have introduced the marijuana situation in South Korea.

In South Korea, medical marijuana was legalized in 2018 for the first time in East Asia and is used for certain patients. Recreational marijuana is illegal and there are penalties for recreational marijuana use in South Korea.

CBD is illegal unless prescribed by a doctor. The South Korean government has established special zones in the country for the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes, which shows its commitment to medical marijuana.

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