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The News in Brief

Friday, November 18
Georgian opposition party threatens to plant marijuana on New Year’s Eve

A political party in Georgia has launched an unusual campaign to legalize marijuana: if Parliament does not decriminalize cannabis by the end of the year, they will plant the narcotic plant in their office on New Year’s Eve.

The relatively new party, which was formed earlier this year, said on Wednesday at a briefing that the government should soften its approach to drugs and the legalize the use of marijuana.

Party spokesman Zurab Japaridze called on Parliament to pass a bill already this fall that will decriminalize the possession and consumption of the plant; a proposal which Parliament already has discussed but rejected at the first hearing in March.

Japaridze has given parliament a deadline before the end of the year; otherwise, his fellow Girchi members will publicly plant a marijuana plant in the party’s office when the New Year countdown starts on December 31.

“We are addressing the government and the newly elected parliament and demanding from them to change the strict drug-related legislation. On the one hand, we ask the government to make consumption of marijuana and other drug substances produced from it fully legal, and on the other hand, legitimate the cultivation and storage of the weed,” he said.

Consumption of marijuana, which grows in the wild throughout Georgia, was not considered a criminal offense until 2006, when President Mikheil Saakashvili launched an anti-drug campaign. Between 2008 and 2013, thousands of Georgians were detained and forced to undergo drug tests.

Japaridze said the party understands that by planting marijuana they would violate the Criminal Code.

“But we are not crazy people who have nothing better to do than making such a statement. We have families and we have a lot of important things to be done, but for us this is a political act. It is the fight for freedom in a particular way,” Japaridze said.

Under current Georgian legislation, possession of a small amount of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to 500 lari (USD 200) or up to one year in jail. Selling of drugs is punishable by up to 11 years in jail. (

Officials whose promotion caused protest, resigned

Two high-ranking officials of Defense Ministry, whose promotion to their positions generated protest amongst the public, have resigned.

Sergo Ninua and Giorgi Tsabadze are waiting for the results of probing launched about their issue. They also demand questioning of those persons who spoke about scandalous facts in a TV story aired by the “Moambe” News Program on Channel One on November 15.

A reserve officer of the Georgian Armed Forces released a video address on social networks yesterday where he spoke about various scandalous incidents. The protest refers to staff changes carried out by Levan Izoria, the Defence Minister.

The author of the video address is protesting the appointment of Sergo Ninua and Giorgi Tsabadze to top posts in the air defence corps.

The officer claims that the newly appointed high-ranking officials used to carry out pressure on soldiers on political grounds during the rule of the United National Movement (UNM) party in the country. (

Georgia’s Patriarch Ilia II departs for Russia this week

Georgia’s Patriarch Ilia II will depart for Russia this week, shortly after the first session of the country’s new Parliament.

The first meeting of Georgia's new Parliament is expected to be held on November 18.

Ilia II is scheduled to meet Russia’s Patriarch Kirill on November 19.

The following day, Georgia's spiritual leader will take part in a service at Christ of Savior’s Cathedral in Russia with other patriarchs from different nations.

After the service Ilia II will attend a reception dedicated to the 70th jubilee of the Russian Patriarch, a representative from the Georgian Patriarchate told local IPN news agency.

The Georgian Patriarch will hold a service at Moscow’s Georgian church on November 23 - on the day commemorating Saint George - and will return to home to Georgia on November 25. (

Constitutional majority enables the future parliament to make more decisions with fewer problems - Davit Usupashvili

“A constitutional majority enables the future parliament to make more decisions with fewer problems, but in the meantime, perhaps, it requires more thoughtful decisions,” Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili said at a reception held in the legislative body for former and new members of Parliament.

"Many important events have taken place in this building for decades, but today's meeting is unique, since the event is dedicated to the continuity of the legislative authority. We want to underline the fact that all of us, regardless of which political party we belong to, regardless of whether we won or lost elections, serve our common homeland. State service is not a privilege or reward, it is honorable labour.

“We have gathered here in order to give hopes to the people once again that we had, have and will have a government which will rule the country and will ensure conduct of next elections and it will be continued this way. We will not have governmental breaks and the events that, unfortunately, had taken place in this Parliament,” he stated.

The event was attended by former and new Members of Parliament, representatives of the Government, and Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. (IPN)