PM Says Marijuana Cultivation Bill Withdrawn from Parliament

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze says that the government has decided to withdraw the marijuana cultivation bill, which would have allowed for the production of cannabis for export purposes, from the parliament.

Bakhtadze told reporters that the government does not want to adopt bills with which society largely disagrees.

“Georgian Dream and our political team will never make such a decision that is not the result of a consensus within the Georgian society,” he added.

He said the ruling team declared from the beginning that they would consult the patriarchate, society, and all stakeholders regarding the issue.

"We've heard specific views about this project and have made a very objective decision. This is our statement that we consider a broad public consensus as a precondition for every project. The public opinion was that this draft law should be withdrawn and that is what we did,” he added.

The parliament has already received an official notification from the government about the withdrawal of the project, which was signed by the PM on November 2.

The draft was prepared and presented to cabinet members by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). According to the draft, marijuana production would have been announced as a licensed activity but only for export and only for medical and cosmetic purposes. The licensing conditions would have defined the geographical area, quantity and other issues related to marijuana production in Georgia.

After the Church voiced its harsh position and criticized the initiative, Georgia’s Parliament Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze, announced that discussions over the issue were delayed in the legislative body in order to launch wider consultations.

Last week, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Natia Mezvrishvili, said that government-initiated marijuana cultivation project has been postponed for an indefinite period and it is no longer is on the agenda.

By Thea Morrison

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06 November 2018 10:33