Police arrest fashionista toker with a green thumb

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Police arrest fashionista toker with a green thumb

A 29-year-old fashion designer was caught yesterday for growing marijuana inside a closet at his house and smoking it on more than 800 occasions, the Nowon Police Precinct in northern Seoul said yesterday.

The designer, named Kim, bought 80 grams (2.82 ounces) of marijuana at the end of last year, extracted the seeds and began growing them. He created a makeshift garden inside his closet using aluminum foil and lights, the police said.

“Kim works as a fashion designer and sometimes composes music. And we found he repeatedly smoked marijuana over the past three years,” a police officer said.

Before he embarked on his own cultivation project at his home in Yongsan District, he allegedly smoked marijuana at his workroom in Mapo District with a friend of the same age surnamed Park.

Park was also booked without detention for smoking marijuana, a drug that is banned in Korea.

Kim is also suspected of purchasing 320 grams of the drug for 4 million won ($3,740) in September 2011 from a 38-year-old drug seller, Lee, who was also booked with the two smokers.

Kim decided to take up his new hobby because the cost of buying marijuana over and over again was becoming exorbitant, according to the police. He also wanted to avoid getting caught by growing the product inside his house.

The police said he evidently got tips on improving his green thumb by turning to the Internet, especially English-language Web sites, to grow his crops. In Korea, online guidelines detailing the growing of cannabis are rare, but English materials are easy to find.

It has also become easier than before to buy hemp seeds from expatriates or Koreans studying abroad.

Police said they were still questioning the three suspects.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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