Libertarian Party statement praising North Korea ignites outrage

The Libertarian Party has had to backpedal and erase a tweet they put out praising North Korea as “an example of more freedom than the United States” for its marijuana laws.

In a now-deleted Aug. 7 tweet, the official Twitter account of the Libertarian Party, America’s third largest political party wrote, “It’s sad that we can look to #NorthKorea for an example of more freedom than the United States.” In true Libertarian confusion, the tweet was linked to a Business Insider article that actually contradicts the argument that North Korea has fewer marijuana laws than the United States.

It’s been publicized that North Korea is a “weed smoker’s paradise.” Cannabis is said to grow wildly in the communist country, and people can reportedly buy it in large, bazaar-style marketplaces and smoke it wherever they like.

However, this may not be true, because, like most everything else about the hermit country, marijuana’s legal status in North Korea is foggy. An investigation by The Associated Press debunked the myth of a pot-friendly totalitarian country — despite reports over the years saying North Korea is exactly that.

Most of what we know about life inside the anti-social communist dictatorship comes from estimates by outside agencies, because like all communist-led countries, North Korea only releases “fake news,” otherwise known as propaganda, so reports from the government are inherently unreliable. To that end, the internet in Pyongyang does not exist outside a closed domestic network, so there is no access to the law on the books regarding marijuana or other drug usages among citizens.

In January, the AP’s Eric Talmadge presented some of the most conclusive evidence yet that marijuana is illegal in North Korea.

Torkel Stiernlof, a Swedish diplomat living in North Korea, told the AP that marijuana is a controlled substance in the same category as cocaine and heroin. He rejected the idea that government looks the other way when it comes to drug use as some online stories suggest.

“There should be no doubt that drugs, including marijuana, are illegal here,” Stiernlof said. “One can’t buy it legally and it would be a criminal offense to smoke it.”

After a wave of criticism online, the national Libertarian organization deleted the tweet Sunday night — after leaving it up for nearly a week — and issued an apology, which also appears to have been deleted.

But again, in true Libertarian fashion, the Party’s official New Hampshire branch still has the exact same tweet praising North Korea on Aug. 7 on its Twitter account. That tweet has not been deleted and remains on Twitter.

However, no one seems to be paying attention to the New Hampshire tweet, and the few people who bothered to comment on it tried to gently explain the difference between a dictatorship and a free republic. “You all didn’t read, ‘An investigation…debunked the myth of the pot-friendly, totalitarian nation.’ NK is the antithesis of liberty,” explained Twitter user David Daniel Turner.

Another, Duncan Britton, let the Libertarians know that “[f]reedom isn’t about being able to bang hookers and do drugs,” and tried to explain that in North Korea, “the government has taken away free will.”

Contrary to widespread rumors online, the Business Insider article stated that marijuana appears to be illegal in North Korea.

The Libertarian Party has struggled to establish itself as a credible third party.

The Party convention last summer turned into a spectacle after a candidate for party chairman stripped down to a thong during his two-minute speech.

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