POLITICS
Who is interested in the cultivation of cannabis in Georgia?
12 October, 2018
Several weeks ago the government announced about its initiative to legalize the cultivation of medical marijuana in Georgia. The draft law was sent to the parliament, but due to a huge backlash from the society and the Georgian Church the decision was changed.

The question is - Who is interested in the cultivation of cannabis in Georgia?


Georgian website Kvirispalitra.ge publishes an article based on confidential sources and explains who is involved in the process.
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It is said that there are
different views about marijuana within the ruling party – Georgian Dream. The source says that there are several MPs who oppose cultivation of medical marijuana. This group includes Gedevan Popkhadze, Mirian Tsiklauri, Zaza Papuashvili, and others. But no one knows for how long will they resist against a so-called youth wing of the Georgian Dream, who agree with the initiative.

The source tells Kviris Palitra that the most actively works Irakli Kobakhidze, Speaker of the Parliament and his group. They act under the name of Bidzina Ivanishvili, the richest person in Georgia. “It is clear that the initiative comes directly from Bidzina Ivanishvili. If he was not backing the process, the government would withdraw the initiative a long time ago” – says the source.
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The richest person in Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili

Some of the representatives of the ruling party allege that cultivation of marijuana is beneficial for the country’s economy and they will consider the initiative after the presidential elections. Before that, they will try to persuade society and the church to accept the initiative and the Kobakhidze wing (supporters of the initiative within the parliament) will try to persuade other lawmakers.

In November 2017 the Constitutional Court of Georgia decriminalized the use of marijuana or other forms of cannabis-based drugs but preserved an administrative punishment, such as a fine, for marijuana use.

Before decriminalization


Before decriminalization, Georgia's Criminal Code defined the repetitive use of marijuana and possession of more than 70 grams of dried cannabis as a crime for which individuals could face punishment that does not include imprisonment.

On the 11th of September, the government of Georgia has prepared a legislation to permit the production and export of Marijuana for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes. According to the legislation, the production of the cannabis would be allowed for export for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes.
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One of the supporters of legalization of marijuana, opposition movement Girchi leader Zura Japaridze

The decision sparked a new round of protests against the government, so discussions about the initiative were stalled, but then it appeared that the government wanted to continue discussions and finally accept the new ruling after the presidential elections.

Who is Irakli Kobakhidze?


Irakli Kobakhidze is a Georgian politician who was elected as the speaker of the Parliament of Georgia in 2016, on the 18th of November.

Kobakhidze graduated from the Tbilisi State University with a degree in law in 2000 and obtained his Ph.D. from the Institute of State and Law of the Academy of Sciences of Georgia in 2002. Не was awarded the LLM and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Dusseldorf in 2005 and 2006, respectively. After that Kobakhidze lectured at various Georgian universities and simultaneously served as UNDP's project manager.
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Speaker of the parliament of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze

He was an expert in strategic planning issues in the Council of Europe Office in Georgia and served as a member of the committee of experts for human rights and rule of law program at Open Society–Georgia Foundation.

Kobakhidze joined the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party in January 2015 and became its executive secretary. After the party's victory in the 2016 parliamentary election, Kobakhidze was elected as chairman of the Parliament with 118 votes to 3 on 18 November 2016.

Who is Bidzina Ivanishvili?


Born on the 18th of February, 1956, Bidzina Ivanishvili is a Georgian businessman and politician. He was the prime minister of the country from the 25th of October 2012 until the 20th of November 2013. He founded and led the Georgian Dream coalition, which won the 2012 parliamentary election and remains as a ruling party in Georgia since then. After the 2013 presidential election, he voluntarily resigned both his government and party positions, naming his long-time personal assistant Irakli Gharibashvili as his successor, however, on the 26th of April 2018 he was named as a chairperson of the Georgian Dream by the then PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili.


According to the Forbes, his net worth is $4.6 billion. Forbes names Bidzina as Georgia's richest man, who made his money in metals and banking in Russia then cashed out and moved back home in 2003. He entrusted about $1 billion to Credit Suisse but more than $100 million of that sum was apparently stolen by the bank's manager Patrice Lescaudron, who was eventually found guilty in February 2018 and sentenced to five years in prison.

Use of cannabis in Georgia


Cannabis in Georgia is legal in terms of its possession and consumption due to a ruling by the Constitutional Court of Georgia on 30 July 2018. Cultivation and sale of cannabis remain illegal.
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Bidzina Ivanishvili

Since 2013, various advocacy groups, as well as opposition politicians, have been urging the government to decriminalize marijuana. In October 2015, the Constitutional Court of Georgia ruled that the norm of the country's Constitution about imprisonment for personal use of marijuana was "too strict" and needed to be softened. In December 2016, the Court further declared that imprisonment for use of small amounts of marijuana, as well as its purchase, retention, and production for personal use, was unconstitutional.

On the 30th of July 2018 ruling from the Constitutional Court of Georgia made legal use and possession of cannabis in Georgia, however kept in place penalties for cultivation and sale of the drug. Actions which also remain illegal include public consumption and use in the presence of children.

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