South Korea


South Korea pushes to be new force in pharmaceuticals

In a brightly lit sealed room at Celltrion's headquarters near Seoul, a man in white overalls and a hairnet squats next to a huge steel tank, extracting a beaker of brown liquid resembling stale beer.


The substance is hazardous to people; emergency showers are nearby in case of accidental exposure. But it is the source of nutrition for the genetically engineered cells used to make biological medicines, as Celltrion spearheads a push by South Korea to become a force in the pharmaceuticals industry.


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Years ago, I worked as a waitress at a popular independent brew pub with an origin story that was the stuff of local legend. The proprietor had bought a heritage building, outfitted it with expensive brewing equipment and hired a full-time brewmaster to develop premium ales and lagers. He had just one problem: It wasn’t yet legal for an establishment in Ontario to produce and sell its own beer on-site. He started the business anyway, shilling sandwiches and sodas until the law changed and allowed the pub to sell the suds that have made it a prosperous business for nearly 30 years.


Korean War veteran reveals long-time craft: Paraphernalia for sale

It all started at a music festival at Hawaii’s Diamond Head in 1972.

For a little extra spending money, Don Maile rented a booth to sell roach clips, pipes and bongs — devices for smoking marijuana.

Maile is almost 80 years old.

“I’ve always believed marijuana was created for healing mankind,” he said.

He is amazed that he can finally bring his craft out from under the radar and advertise it to potential customers.

“We are just starting to get used to the idea that I can do this legally now,” Maile said.

He makes the smoking paraphernalia in his garage workshop in the Madrona area of Camano Island.

Maile was 17 when he joined the military in 1952.


Is Korea becoming a pot haven?

Lack of crackdown helps make marijuana readily available in South Korea

Police take a photo of marijuana plants, found at a house in Seoul earlier this year. A simple online search can connect potential buyers from Korea with sellers of illegal drugs, which is increasingly becoming a problem. (Korea Times file)


Marijuana sellers advertise their goods online, not only for those who can use it legally in their home countries. As a result, in Korea home delivery of “top quality weed” is just a few clicks away.


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