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The News in Brief

Friday, January 13
Sulkhan Glonti appointed Chairman of Adjara Department of Tourism and Resorts

Sulkhan Glonti has been appointed as the Chairman of the Department of Tourism and Resorts of Adjara. The new chairman was introduced to the department personnel by the chairman of the government of Adjara.

Zurab Pataradze emphasized Sulkhan Glonti’s education and experience and noted the importance of his effective managing skills and education in terms of public relations in order to implement important projects and develop the region as a four-season destination.

Zurab Pataradze thanked the former chairman and the whole team of the department for the interesting projects initiated for regional tourism development.

The new chairman of the department started his duties today. As he has told reporters, Georgia (and specifically the Adjara region) have unique opportunities in terms of sea and mountain tourism development, which will be fully utilised. He also expressed his readiness to apply his knowledge and experience in the public relations field in order to provide an effective performance of the department and regional tourism development.

Sulkhan Glonti graduated from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University and the Tbilisi Theological Seminary. He is a public relations manager by profession and has completed various trainings/courses in Europe and the USA. Sulkhan Glonti was a deputy of the Supreme Council and the chairman of the faction “Georgian Dream Free Democrats” since 2012. (IPN)

Regular Flights from Georgia to India Due to Start

Georgia and India signed a memorandum on air traffic.

According to the Ministry of Economics, the agreement will enable the Georgian side to perform regular flights to the biggest international airports of India, namely9+995 such cities as – Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore.

However, regular flights will only be performed to Delhi. The agreement will mean that 21 flights a week will be carried out from each side at the first stage. It should be noted that as of the current memorandum, flight frequency between the countries has been determined 4 times.

The Ministry explains that signing the bilateral intergovernmental agreement between the parties in the near future will create the legal basis to start direct flights between Georgia and India, which in turn will contribute to the development of tourism, as well as to enhance cooperation in trade, investment and other areas. (

MIA investigates Girchi headquarters for marijuana seeds planted on New Year

The Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs has entered the offices of Girchi, which planted marijuana seeds during a live stream on New Year’s Eve.

According to party leader Zura Japaridze, MIA representatives presented a warrant for a search of the party’s offices.

“I don’t know why they came today. They could’ve taken the same measures on New Year’s Eve, or during the following days. Today, representatives of the MIA visited us, and presented a warrant in order to conduct a search. After this, they will begin an investigation. They will probably take the pots and check whether it’s really marijuana planted in there or not. There’s nothing else to check, as everything we did was public,” stated Japaridze.

On December 31, New Political Center - Girchi planted marijuana publicly in their offices and broadcasted the event live. In doing so, participants of the demonstration protested against Georgia’s existing drug policies. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has opened an investigation according to the 265th article of the Criminal Code, however, no one has been arrested as of yet.

Eight days after the initial planting, the party shared photos in which one can see the sprouting of marijuana seeds.

An active campaign demanding the liberalization of drug policies in Georgia started in 2010. On June 2 2013, the first large-scale demonstration was held in Tbilisi demanding the decriminalization of marijuana.

As a result of numerous campaigns of the June 2nd Movement, the White Noise Movement, GeNPUD and other organizations working on this issue, the Constitutional Court approved the appeal of civic activist Beka Tsikarishvili and ruled in 2015 that the possession of less than 70 grams of marijuana would not be punishable by jail time.

In 2016, the Constitutional Court also ruled that the consumption of marijuana is not punishable by jail time.

However, up to 12-years of imprisonment terms for cultivation and criminal charges and high fines for possession and consumption of marijuana still exist. The Police continually practices forced urine tests, in which citizens are stopped in the street, detained and taken to the narcology testing facility. If individuals test positive for Marijuana, they have to pay unreasonable fines, whereas in case of club or hard drugs, they may be imprisoned.

Around 50, 000 people annually are forced to take drug tests based on so called “grounded suspicion”. However, the consumption of illegal substances was found in only 35% of those tested. Around 17,000,000 GEL was spent on drug tests during the last 7 years.

The research center on addiction Alternative Georgia, in cooperation with the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), carried out research in 2015, according to which 69.4% of those polled were in favour of decriminalization of marijuana. 54.5% of those polled thought that people shouldn’t be arrested for the use of all other drugs.

In 2016, around 40 movements and organisations working in the drug policies field created a national platform on drug policy, the aim of which is to decriminalize the consumption of all drugs. (