South Korean Govt. Permits Blockchain-Based Free Trade Zone for Industrial Hemp After Amending 70 Year Old Narcotics Law


The South Korean government has granted a permit to Andong city in Gyeongbuk province of South Korea to run a free trade zone for industrial hemp. The management and operations of this trade zone will be done via a blockchain-based system. The news was announced by Gyeongbuk’s governor, Lee Chul-woo, who held a press conference to announce the news about the permit.

The exclusive free trade zone would implement smart farming and high-tech bioindustry solutions. This was made possible through an amendment made to a 77-year-old narcotics law, which now allows for industrial-grade production of cannabis in specific areas. All the operations of the firm will be automated and run by the blockchain-based system.

The old narcotics law restricted its use to textiles and seeds. However, the latest amendment would allow for the creation of a high-value biomaterials market, which would bring about the industrialization of medical hemp. The governor also commented on the hemp project and said:

“This special regulatory zone has a special meaning, different from that of the existing special zone, in that it seeks a rational industrialization plan for narcotic drugs. We will grow more so that the company can write a new history overflowing.”

South Korea, known as a tech-centered and technologically advanced nation, has had its government show a similar intent towards blockchain. It has run and authorized several blockchain incubation projects and has also advocated for its adoption by various industries.

The country is already using an identification app that uses a public blockchain to verify citizen information. In Busan city, a public-private consortium announced their plans of using blockchain for creating a medical tourism platform. Even earlier, the country has incorporated blockchain in the education sector as well, where they issued graduation certificates on a blockchain, which could be the future as well given the ongoing pandemic scenario.

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