South Korea has became the first country in East Asia to legalize medical cannabis.
The country’s National Assembly voted last week to approve amending the Act on the Management of Narcotic Drugs to pave the way for non-hallucinogenic dosages of medical cannabis prescriptions, reports the Marijuana Business Daily.
Under the new law, medical marijuana will still be tightly restricted. In order to receive medical cannabis, patients would be required to apply to the Korea Orphan Drug Center, a government body established to facilitate patient access to rare medicines in the country. Patients would also need to receive a prescription from a medical practitioner, and approval would be granted on a case-by-case basis.
As reported by MBD, South Korea’s cannabis law overcame a major obstacle in July when it won the support of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, which said at the time it would permit Epidiolex, Marinol, Cesamet and Sativex for conditions including epilepsy, symptoms of HIV/AIDS and cancer-related treatments. On November 23 the ministry said a series of amended laws passed in a National Assembly session will expand the treatment opportunities for patients with rare diseases.
“South Korea legalizing medical cannabis, even if it will be tightly controlled with limited product selection, represents a significant breakthrough for the global cannabis industry,” said Vijay Sappani, CEO of Toronto-based Ela Capital, a venture capital firm exploring emerging markets in the cannabis space.
“The importance of Korea being the first country in East Asia to allow medical cannabis at a federal level should not be understated. Now it’s a matter of when other Asian countries follow South Korea, not if.”