SOCIETY
Smoking marijuana has been legalized in Georgia
31 July, 2018
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, 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

Activists of the opposition party Girchi had been campaigning to legalize marijuana use since November
2016. A law suit was filed by Zurab Jafaridze and Vakhtang Megrelishvili of the Girchi party against the Government. On the 30th July 2018 the Constitutional Court of Georgia ruled in favour of the Claimants.
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The Girchi Party, Photo courtesy: www.metronome.ge

The Judgment means that there will no longer be an administrative punishment for the use of marijuana. Certain exceptions are made when the use of the cannabis in some circumstances will not be justified for example if the use of the drug poses threats to third parties or the cannabis is consumed on educational premises, in public places, or in the presence of children, etc., then responsibility will be imposed on the user.

The decision made by the court does not allow cultivation and/or selling of the cannabis. Also, the possession of 5 g of dried cannabis remains a crime for which individuals face administrative punishment of 500 GEL or up to 15 days’ imprisonment.

"According to the Claimants [Zurab Japaridze and Vakhtang Megrelishvili], the consumption of marijuana is not an act of social threat. In particular, it can only harm the user's health, making themthat is the user him/herself responsible for the outcome. The responsibility for such actions does not cause dangerous consequences for the public,” the court stated.

In a press briefing shortly after the court’s ruling was announced, Girchi’s leader, Zurab Japaridze, said that the ruling makes Georgia the first country in the post-soviet era to legalize cannabis consumption. ‘This wasn’t a fight for cannabis, this was a fight for freedom. Monday’s decision made Georgia freer than it was before, “- he said.


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