Cannabis in Georgia (country)

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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 remains illegal.

Cultivation[edit]

Georgia illegally cultivates some small amounts of cannabis, mostly for local consumption.[1] As of 2005, Georgia also served as a transit route for drugs coming from Central Asia, headed for Russia and Europe.[2]

Enforcement[edit]

Before Georgia legalized cannabis it had a strict anti-drug policy, under which offenders could have been jailed for up to 14 years. The advocacy group White Noise Movement states that over 100 people are drug tested by Georgian police daily. Following the 2006 strengthening of the drug laws, Georgia collected $11.3 million in drug-related fines in the first year.[3]

Reform[edit]

Beginning in 2013 there were calls from various advocacy groups and opposition politicians to decriminalize cannabis, but the government remained opposed.[4] In October 2015, the Constitutional Court of Georgia ruled that the norm of the country’s Constitution about imprisonment for personal use of cannabis was “too strict” and needed to be relaxed. In December 2016, the Court further declared that imprisonment for use of small amounts of cannabis, as well as its purchase, retention, and production for personal use, was unconstitutional.[5]

On 30 July 2018, the Constitutional Court of Georgia ruled that “consumption of marijuana is an action protected by the right to free personality” and that “[Marijuana] can only harm the user’s health, making that user him/herself responsible for the outcome. The responsibility for such actions does not cause dangerous consequences for the public.”[6][7] The ruling made legal the use and possession of cannabis in Georgia but 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.[8]

Protests[edit]

In December 2016 the White Noise Movement held a protest outside the Parliament building calling for decriminalization of drugs, including cannabis.[9]

On New Year’s Eve of 2016, Girchi Party activists planted cannabis plants in 84 pots in the party’s Tbilisi headquarters, in defiance of Georgian drug policy.[3] Georgian police officers arrived and confiscated the plants, but did not charge party members with any criminal offense.[10]

On 20 October 2018 Girchi Party activists held the Cannabis Legalization Festival in the downtown of Tbilisi protesting the new aim of Parliament to pass a bill restricting the consumption of cannabis.

References[edit]

  1. ^ International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept. (4 January 2013). Georgia: Detailed Assessment Report on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism. International Monetary Fund. pp. 24–. ISBN 978-1-4755-5293-5.
  2. ^ Guy Arnold (29 March 2005). International Drugs Trade. Routledge. pp. 174–. ISBN 1-135-45516-3.
  3. ^ a b “Green Defiance Challenges Law, Power in Georgia”. Voanews.com. 2017-01-02. Retrieved 2017-01-16.
  4. ^ “PM Strongly Against of Marijuana Decriminalization”. Civil Georgia. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  5. ^ “Norms envisaging imprisonment for marijuana use now null and void in Georgia”. Agenda.ge. 24 December 2016. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  6. ^ Roberts, Chris (30 July 2018). “Georgia’s High Court Removes Marijuana Possession Penalties”. Marijuana Moment. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  7. ^ “Georgian Court Abolishes Fines For Marijuana Consumption”. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 30 July 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  8. ^ Wayne, Shawn (30 July 2018). “Smoking Marijuana Legalized in Georgia”. Georgia Today. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  9. ^ “Fighting back against Georgia’s war on drugs”. openDemocracy. 2016-12-15. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  10. ^ George Nelson in Tblisi. “Georgia eases draconian law on cannabis use | World news”. The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-03-05.

Further reading[edit]