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Drug policy liberalization

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, April 12
The Human Rights Committee in the Parliament of Georgia has backed the Government-proposed draft bill that envisages certain liberalisations made to the current strict drug policy.

The draft law reads that the illegal production of small amounts of dried marijuana, crude marijuana and cannabis, as well as their purchase, possession or transportation, will not be punished with imprisonment.

In particular, a 'small amount' of dried marijuana is to be defined as up to 70g, while crude marijuana and cannabis will be set at 140g.

Anyone in possession of these amounts will have to pay a 300 GEL fine.

If the amount of drugs is higher, the penalty will be imprisonment.

NGOs stress that the draft law will not address the current drug-related difficulties and the problems in this regard will remain unsettled.

They also state that besides marijuana, there are more than 200 other drugs.

Part of the non-parliamentary opposition claim the authorities will continue using the current “ugly” drug policy for its own interests and detain or arrest people, especially potential political opponents, because of drugs.

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

It is true that Georgia’s previous drug policy was too strict, as those detained for using a small amount of marijuana were sentenced like those arrested for murder, attempted murder and similar serious offences.

However, keeping a balance in a country like Georgia is essential.

Yet over-liberalisation of the country's drug policy will not contribute much to the state's development. However, people must not be sent to prison for personal usage of a small amount of marijuana or other drugs, and the state must think more about rehabilitation programs for drug addicts.