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Georgian Activists Demand End to Harsh Drug Policies

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, December 12
(TBILISI) – A growing civil activist group in Georgia is taking an increasingly public stance against what it sees as a draconian drug policy in the country.

Known as the White Noise Movement, the group is demanding that the government decriminalizes drug consumption and grants amnesty to those sentenced to prison for drug use. They have also demanded that the government overhaul the police force and train officers to stop harshly cracking down on drug consumers.

Akaki Zoidze, an MP from the ruling Georgian Dream party, said following the latest public protest by the Movement that the Parliament is ready to discuss and vote the draft, which has already been initiated in the legislative body.

Opposition parties and civil society have been sharply critical of the government’s drug policy and have accused the Georgian Dream of using tough anti-drug laws to crack down on their opponents.

Georgia’s Constitutional Court decriminalized Marijuana consumption earlier this year, but all other substances remain banned and carry heavy prison sentences for their sale or consumption.

Opponents of de-criminalization argue that the legalization of drug use would pose a severe health risk, including the spread of hepatitis.