March 12 will be the day when South Korea’s medical marijuana law goes into the effect. Although medical cannabis will still be a highly restricted industry in the country, the law represents a turning point in the country’s approach toward CBD
The new law will allow for import of both CBD and THC-based medications. Only those with approved access to the CBD products will have access to the formulas. Approval is given on a case-by-case basis. Further, according to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), its regulations will permit only certain CBD formulas from other countries. The products must be licensed and marketed according to the ministry’s specific requirements. A few of the main brands that will be permitted include Marinol, Sativex, Cesamet and Epidiolex. Each of these products are permitted in the United States, Germany, Australia, and France.
A few of the main situations in which approval of CBD products by the Ministry is likely includes cancer-related treatment, HIV/AIDS symptoms, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet Syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. These are often categorized as rare and incurable diseases. Those who are interested in receiving approval must submit to the agency an application, a doctor’s diagnosis, and their medical records. The diagnosis must include the name of the medicine, dosage, number of doses per day, and the recommended timeframe for use. Further, the medical records must show that there is no substitute for the medication in Korea.
Foreign companies are already looking ahead to the change. For example, Canadian company Canopy Growth, is planning on entering the South Korean market and has stated that it is looking for a hiring manager “for the successful launch and operation of cannabis sales in a coordinated and strategic manner.”