The hermit kingdom of North Korea is shrouded in enigma, rumor and controversy. We hear about the brutal regime on the news, but it’s hard to discern fact from fiction. George W. Bush called it the “axis of evil” and Condoleeza Rice referred to it as an “outpost of tyranny.” On the flip side, Dennis Rodman can’t get enough of the place. It’s one of the world’s most isolated countries, cut off from the global internet revolution and much contact from the outside world. Horrible human rights violations make many ethical tourists stay away, but more and more travelers are exploring this secretive nation, albeit on restricted state-controlled tours, so little details about the country are slowly emerging. James Franco and Seth Rogen’s comedy The Interview depicted a kooky fictionalized version the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its cultish leader Kim Jong-un, but in reality it’s even more bizarre (and scary) than that. Check out these crazy facts about North Korea and have your mind blown.
1. Weed is Legal There
Who knew North Korea was a nation of stoners? Contrary to our idea of the country being the most conservative, restrictive, controlling nation on the planet, it’s quite progressive when it comes to pot. There is no law against the sale or consumption of marijuana in North Korea. “Leaf tobacco” isn’t considered a drug there, and apparently cannabis freely grows by the roadside throughout the country. It’s not uncommon to smell the scent of weed wafting while walking the streets, and it’s particularly popular with young soldiers who prefer it over local cigarettes.