About Korea > Korean Laws

Using Marijuana


Using Marijuana

South Korea has very strict anti-cannabis laws and you don’t have to be caught using to be arrested, you just have to have THC in your system.

The police can (and do) stop anyone on the street to test them for drugs. The commonly used hair follicle test can detect cannabis use going back nearly 3 years in some cases. Screening can also be done using blood, saliva or urine tests. That your consumption was for medicinal purposes and not even in Korea will not prevent you being arrested. 

An arrest almost always results in some days or months in jail. The penalty for a conviction on a drug charge (possession is a felony) ranges from a suspended sentence to up to 5 years in prison along with a hefty fine (up to W50million) and deportation. If you’re lucky you will be deported immediately or after spending some time (possibly months) in a detention sentence. If you’re unlucky, you will have to serve your full sentence before being deported. 

Regardless of whether or not cannabis use is legal in your home country – either for medicinal or recreational purposes – it is not legal in Korea and it doesn’t look as though it will be anytime soon, even though it is available here. Note that immigration authorities can also conduct drug tests.


K4E Editor: We try to make the information on Korea4Expats.com as complete and accurate as possible, so if you notice any errors or omissions in the content above, please let us know at info@korea4expats.com.

Last Updated on 2016-05-08


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