Parliament Adopts Amendments to Marijuana Consumption Law

Georgian Parliament has approved amendments to the Law on Marijuana Consumption, which regulates the field and sets some boundaries to the consumption of cannabis.

The amendments were prepared by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and adopted by Parliament on the third reading last week.

The law implies a number of regulations on the use of marijuana and introduces some restrictions, in particular with regard to specific areas, the age limit and popularization.

Following the changes, the use of marijuana in public places, public transport, schools and educational institutions is prohibited.

Also, the use of marijuana is prohibited for people under 21 in order to protect youth from the harmful effects of the drugs.

Pushing people under 21 to use marijuana has also become an offence.

“The use of marijuana is prohibited when performing official duties, be they civil servants or individuals working in the private sector,” the law reads.

This means that for some people, (for example, teachers, doctors, public servants, etc.) who perform responsible duties, the consumption of cannabis will result in their losing their jobs.

In addition, the sanctions have increased for the popularization or promotion of marijuana and other drug consumption.

Driving a car under the influence of marijuana is also prohibited.

The MIA announced earlier this autumn that its patrol police officers will begin checking drivers specifically for the use of marijuana using a special test kit.

The ministry adding their main aim is to “protect juveniles from the harmful effects of marijuana” and uphold public safety.

The amendments took effect immediately after the approval by the lawmakers.

Before October 2015, Georgia’s laws on marijuana read that a person is to be jailed for seven to 14 years if found with a large amount of marijuana. The same law determined 50-500g of marijuana as "a large amount.” 

In October 2015, the Constitutional Court delivered a verdict and stated that if an individual was caught with up to 70g of dried marijuana, they should not be sent to prison, as the previous punishment outlined. 

In 2016, the court stated repeated marijuana users would not be sent to prison. 

Georgia’s Constitutional Court ruled last year that no-one would be sent to prison for using marijuana, which meant marijuana consumption was decriminalized. 

Afterwards, on July 30, 2018, the Constitutional Court declared that administrative punishment for the use of marijuana was unconstitutional when consumption does not create any threat to third parties - effectively legalizing the consumption of marijuana.

However, later the court explained that this does not mean legalization of marijuana in the country as the storage, distribution and cultivation of cannabis still remain punishable in Georgia.


By Thea Morrison

Image source: CNN

03 December 2018 12:05