|Alaska Cannabis Club CEO Charlo Greene smokes a joint at the medical marijuana dispensary in Anchorage, Alaska. AP-Yonhap|
By Kim Hyun-bin
There has been a surge in cannabis product smuggling here in recent years especially after California and Canada legalized the use of recreational marijuana.
According to Incheon Main Customs, Thursday, it recorded 60 cases of marijuana smuggling and confiscated 7.8 kilograms of these products in 2017. But the number of cases soared 303 percent to 242 in 2018, and quantity increased 268 percent to 28.7 kilograms of weed products.
From the end of last year, the customs office has seen a huge increase in the smuggling of marijuana cartridges that can be smoked like electronic cigarettes ― 79 cases with a total 3.5 kilograms since November. The number is significant as it exceeds the total number of marijuana cartridge smuggling cases in all of 2018: 45 cases and close to 2 kilograms.
Diverse weed products have been confiscated including marijuana cookies, chocolates and gummies. They were mostly smuggled by travelers and international mail and freight.
Under the country's law, anyone who smuggles, possesses or uses marijuana products could serve up to five years in prison or pay up to 50 million won in fines.
Incheon Main Customs plans to strengthen cooperation with Incheon District Prosecutors' Office, Incheon International Airport Corp., airlines and other related entities to better prevent inflow of drugs to the country.