North Korea may be the most isolated nation on earth and an oppressive prison- state, but its apparent policy on marijuana may shock you.

You can openly buy and smoke pot in North Korea.  

Reports from visitors and defectors claim that North Korea has no law against the sale and consumption of marijuana.  Or, if there is indeed a law on weed, it is widely ignored and unenforced.

Around two years ago, a freelance writer named Darmon Ritcher wrote an entry in his blog describing how he bought a bag full of marijuana at a market in a North Korean countryside. Ritcher said that he ‘smoked it with impunity’ outdoors and in restaurants. The freelance writer related how the group’s regime-appointed “minder” smoke pot with him and other tourists.  According to the minder, marijuana is legal in North Korea.

According to 2010 report by a Seoul-based American nongovernmental organization called Open Radio for North Korea, Kim Jong-un’s regime does not recognize cannabis to be a drug.  However, analysts speaking to HuffPost remarked that although weed may be technically outlawed, the regime is liberal in imposing their marijuana law.

On this matter, Sokeel Park, the director of research and strategy of California-based human rights group, Liberty In North Korea, said, "Cannabis grows wildly in North Korea and has even been sold abroad by government agencies as a way to earn foreign currency. It's not clear what the official law on the books states, but in any case, marijuana, which is known as 'yoksam' in North Korea, is not prioritized by the government and is therefore not treated as an illegal drug.”

Shirley Lee, an editor of New Focus International explained that marijuana in North Korea is good as legal. Unlike in the West, there is ‘no great stigma’ about possessing and using it there.

An American consultant gained attention in Reddit when he shared his travel experience in North Korea and related how he and his group met North Koreans growing marijuana in their backyards and in small gardens.  He opined that marijuana is used mostly as ‘medicine’ in the rural areas.

People cut up newspapers into squares and use it as their rolling paper. They prefer to use The Rodong Sinmun, a favorite newspaper among most North Korean weed smokers.  Of course, the North Korean potheads avoid cutting the page that bear the photo of their beloved Supreme Leader.

North Korean sources admit that smoking marijuana is popular in the lower classes. Weed is a therapeutic especially after hard day of manual labor. It is way to relax and sooth their aching bodies.

North Korea’s liberal stand on marijuana will certainly shock the West, especially the United States where an on-going war against narcotics is happening daily.  According to US News and World Report, the police in the US made a marijuana-related arrest every 42 seconds in 2012.  Unlike Kim Jung-un’s government, the US pours its resources to combat illegal marijuana in their country.  The US   spends around $3.6 billion a year enforcing marijuana law.

It is absolutely logical for Kim Jung-un to take a liberal stance on marijuana.  The best way to distract a people who are suffering from poverty, hunger and suppression is to allow them to escape their bitter reality by puffing weed.

At the very least, marijuana sets the North Korean ‘free’.