POLITICS
Why Marijuana isn’t Part of the Georgian Dream
31 July, 2015
Public and political passion fuming over Marijuana

Today among many who consume variations of the plant, there is active demand for its decriminalization or legalization in countries where consumption of marijuana is banned by legislation. In this regard Georgia makes no exception; what’s more, both consumption and being in possession of marijuana is an offence punishable by imprisonment. In case of repeated offence, the legal punishment might be even harsher that in cases of homicide in
the affective state.

For the last year and a half, young people have actively taken to the streets demanding the decriminalization of marijuana. The most daring of them even insist on its legalization. Yet many often confuse legalization and decriminalization. Decriminalization allows the purchase and consumption in certain amounts of Marijuana. Cultivation, production and transportation are still punishable.
Most people fear that even in case of modest decriminalization of the plant’s consumption will result in sharp increase in drug use. They fear that if the consumption of the drug isn’t punishable, then foreign countries will start smuggling it or that the state will bring in marijuana and even set the price.
Those who support decriminalization accept the conspiracy-esc theories with a smile believing that light narcotics don’t bring any more harm to a person’s health than do alcohol or nicotine. Consequently, they argue that marijuana consumption as a criminal offense is illegitimate. Supporters of decriminalization have held multiple protests demanding that authorities accept the UNO’s conclusion and exempt marijuana from the list of criminal offenses.
In support of those who sustain this position, it is to be noted that the results of monitoring by the European center for narcotics and consumption are as follows: In 2009 consumption of marijuana among adults in Holland was 5.4 percent, while in Europe the average figure was 6.8 percent. The same year in Italy 14.6 percent of the adult population had used marijuana.
Long story short, passions among the Georgian population have recently been so high (no pun intended) that even politicians began to speak out on the issue. Representatives of the opposition, including the Free Democrats rendered full support to the initiative of decriminalization. MP Goga Khachidze addressed the highest legislative body of Georgia with a corresponding demand. At the Healthcare Committee session the legislative initiative was put to vote twice. The decision for a revote was made by Dimitry Khundadze, the Committee Chairman after the first was supported by the majority – out of those present in the hall only three were against. After this the Committee Chairman adjourned the meeting, summoned the full number of Georgian Dream MPs and held another vote. The result was five – for and seven – against. The initiative was defeated.
This didn’t astound anyone. The authorities’ position was known in advance. Approximately one year earlier PM Irakli Gharibashvili disillusioned those who supported marijuana decriminalization by saying: “While we are in power there will be no legalization of marijuana.” One has to wonder whether Snoop Dogg knew about all of this.

Author:
Rusudan Shelia
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