Psy and cannabis : An unlikely combination or just a fairy tale?

Unfortunately, Psy aka king of Gangnam Style got into trouble with the law regarding some illegal drug usage back in 2001. Perhaps it was a blessing of some sort that back then, K-Pop was just in its infancy and didn’t attract much international attention.

Psy was arrested for illegal consumption of marijuana in November 2001 and according to KBS, he consumed illegal drugs five times and attributed the pressure of making good songs in a short period of time as the reason behind this. He admitted his guilt and paid a US$5,000 fine. 

But is Psy the only Korean celebrity to have brushed against the law when it come to cannabis?

[Cannabis in South Korea is illegal for recreational use. In November 2018, the country’s Narcotics Control Act was amended and use of medical cannabis became legal, making South Korea the first country in East Asia to legalize medical cannabis.]

Turns out that there were a few more brushes against the law that involved cannabis in recent years, and with some big names too at that.

Jung Il-hoon from BtoB

the main rapper of K-pop boy band BtoB, was charged with consuming marijuana in July 2020, as first disclosed to the public by Channel A in December that year. According to Korean media reports, Seoul Central District Court heard that Jung worked with seven other people to purchase marijuana over a 30-month span. His sentence refers to a total of 161 marijuana offences in that same time frame. 

K-pop fans have questioned whether his May 28, 2020, enlistment in the military was related to the charge date. As there are investigations before someone is prosecuted, there are suspicions that Jung chose to enlist to try and escape the furore.

According to Korea Times, prosecutors demanded four years imprisonment, commenting that the defendant used “sophisticated criminal tactics, including communications through the dark web and cryptocurrency-based payments, to cover up their offences”.


G-Dragon and T.O.P from BigBang

While Jung Il-hoon’s drug scandal has shocked many, it was way more shocking when the drug habits of BigBang members G-Dragon and T.O.P were first revealed. Being key figures in K-pop’s second generation, G-Dragon and T.O.P are considered bona fide idols rather than just typical singers.

G-Dragon’s drug scandal went public back in 2011 when, during his appearance on SBS’ Healing Camp, he explained how he “took a puff of a cigarette from someone he didn’t know at the after-party in Japan in May 2011”. According to his account, after noticing the cigarette tasted weird, he says he threw it away.

But while a subsequent police urine test came back negative, a hair test returned a weak positive, according to Channel Korea. After G-Dragon admitted to the offence in July 2011, the Japanese police gave him a suspended sentence, as the amount of the substance found in him was so small and it was his first offence. Later on, in Healing Camp in 2012, he openly spoke about the case and apologised once again by saying: “I should have been more careful as a celebrity, but it was all my fault.”


So while these may not be the kind of headlights that cannabis is seeking for, some would say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Sounds scary, but lets hope this doesn’t come back to haunt our good ol plant. Till the next time, keep on the metta.

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