Though adult cannabis use is now legal in Canada, South Koreans traveling or living abroad in the North American country are still barred from partaking, the South Korean embassy in Canada tweeted last week.
According to the New York Times, the embassy tweeted:
“Even if South Koreans are in a region where marijuana is legal, it will be illegal for them to consume it. Please take care not to commit an illegal act and be punished.” — Tweet excerpt from the South Korean embassy in Canada
For decades, South Koreans have faced prosecution for using illegal drugs (or performing any other illegal activities) while abroad, even if said activity is not illegal in the country they are visiting. Normally, authorities would not perform random drug tests on citizens returning home, but they have been known to closely monitor people who have been caught using cannabis in the past.
Under South Korean law, the cultivation, possession, transporting, or consumption of cannabis is a crime punishable by up to five years imprisonment or a 50 million won fine (about $44,000).
There are currently about 23,000 South Korean students on exchange in Canada and — as of May 2018 — 293,000 South Korean citizens were abroad in the newly legalized country.
Canada legalized cannabis nationwide last week, making it the second nation in the world and the first G7 nation to end cannabis prohibition.