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Initiative of marijuana decriminalization fails in parliament

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Friday, March 4
The Parliament of Georgia refused to decriminalize marijuana on the first hearing of the draft law, which was initiated by the New Political Center Girchi, but was supported only by 47 members of parliament (MP), with 21 against.

In total, the initiative was short of only three votes. All 21 MPs who were against the initiative are members of the Georgian Dream party (GD).

According to the member of New Political Center Girchi and the author of the draft law, Goga Khachidze, he is going to appeal to the court to overturn the ruling.

“This was only the first hearing and 47 votes were not bad. However, we are going to keep on fighting. In two weeks, the second hearing of the draft law will be held. At the moment we are working on the suit and will address to the Constitutional Court on March 4. This initiative should pass simply because the developed world have made such changes in their laws,” stated Khachidze.

The head of the United National Movement (UNM) oppposition party, Giorgi Gabashvili, said that the initiative should be supported by Parliament.

“I hope that the MPs who voted against the law today,will think well and change their opinion until the second hearing. This reminds me of anachronism. The whole world understands that people should not be sent to jail for using marijuana,” stated Gabashvili.

A member of the ruling GD coalition, Manana Kobakhidze, said that the majority voted against the motion because drug policy needs more discussions and the government is not yet ready to implement such changes.

“I voted against this draft law. Yes, I think that country’s drug policy needs to be renewed, and the regulations need to be improved, but I see no necessity in decriminalization now. However, I believe that works in this direction should continue,” stated Kobakhidze.

The second hearing of the draft will be held in two weeks.