Georgian Constitutional Court Decriminalizes Marijuana Consumption

The Georgian Constitutional Court came to a verdict on November 30 that marijuana consumption or regular use will no longer see criminal liability. However, the verdict does not remove the fine and the administrative punishment for using the drug. 

Moreover, the court's decision does not apply to the distribution, selling or posession of drugs which still remains a criminal offence. Before this verdict, decriminalization was only applicable for posession of up to 70gr of dried cannabis. 

The author of the legal suit was Georgian citizen Givi Shanidze, whose interests were protected by the non-parliamentary opposition party Girchi member Iago Khvichia. Shanidze demanded the removal of the 273th article of the criminal code which envisages punishment for marijuana usage without a doctor's prescription.

After the decision of the court, Iago Khvichia expressed hope that next step will be legalization of marijuana consumption in Georgia. 

"We have at last overcome the Soviet obstacles about marijuana consumption. From now, consumers of cannabis will not be considered as criminals, as it was before. I want to promise people that marijuana consumption will be legal soon," he stated.

Chairman of the Health Committee Akaki Zoidze told journalists that marijuana decriminalization would eventually have taken effect in a year, after the relevant draft law was adopted by Parliament. According to Zoidze, the draft law on which the Parliament works, will apply to other drugs too.

"After we adopt the draft law, the criminal liability will be abolished for the consumption of all kinds of drugs, and only the administrative punishment will remain," he said, but explained that the decision of the Constitutional Court does not mean marijuana legalization.

By Thea Morrison


30 November 2017 16:25