It’s no surprise North Korea tends to make the news. From cracking down on Internet use to the “three generation” punishment rule, the East Asian country has one of the most centralized economies in the world; but what do we really known about the country. Here are 5 shocking, but true facts about one of the world’s most infamous countries.
1. Marijuana Isn’t a Drug
Unlike many countries, smoking pot isn’t an issue in North Korea. In fact, many locals smoke it regularly. Although hard drugs like crystal meth can lead to harsh punishments like death, marijuana has never been classified as illegal or as a drug in any way. In fact, many North Korean gentlemen prefer it as their roll-up of choice.
2. North Korea Is the Only Country to Currently Hold a US Naval Ship
In 1968, North Korea the USS Pueblo was taken by North Korean MiG jets, sub chasers, and torpedo boats. Eventually the crew members were released. Although the USS Pueblo still remains held, it is currently still in commission.
3. The Year Isn’t 2015 in North Korea
Unlike the majority of the world, North Korea doesn’t follow the traditional calendar year. Instead of the year being 2015, the calendar is based off the date of birth of Kim II-Sung who was born April 15, 1912. Therefore, the current year is 104.
4. North Korea Uses the Songbun System
This North Korean Songbun system is used to determine social status. It is based on economic, political, and social background for direct ancestors and for behaviors by relatives. It is used to determine the level of responsibility and trust the individual is given. The ranking will also determine the food potions, access to education, employment opportunities, and more.
5. The Country Hands out Voting Ballots
Contrary to popular belief, North Korea does hand out ballots to vote every five years. However, there is only one voting option on them, and thus only one choice for the leader.