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Girchi party links Georgia’s ‘new economy’ to marijuana decriminalisation

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, January 5
One of the founders of the Girchi Party, Zurab Japaridze, who was previously the member of the United National Movement, claims marijuana decriminalisation can create a “new economy for Georgia “ and consequently “thousands of new jobs”.

Japaridze, who created the party with two other former United National Movement faces, made their statement after planting the marijuana at his party office during a live broadcasting on New Year’s Eve.

He stressed that not only using marijuana must be decriminalised, but also the use of all other drugs.

He rejected statements that marijuana decriminalisation would cause an unfavourable situation in the country.

“Look at this man; he had serious health problems and he could speak only after he started smoking marijuana,” Japaridze said, referring to a man in a wheelchair on display for journalists.

He stressed it was Girchi’s demand that the legislative body start discussing marijuana decriminalisation during its spring sessions.

Through planting the marijuana publicly, Girchi violated the law, which dictates that offenders be imprisoned for 2 to 12 years.

Georgas’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has not yet responded to the gesture.

In October 2015, Georgia’s Constitutional Court issued a verdict that stated if a person was caught with up to 70g of dried marijuana he/she must not be sent to prison, as the previous punishment outlined.

In October last year, the same court established it was inhumane and unconstitutional to send repeat marijuana users to prison if they are found under the influence of cannabis.

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