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The News in Brief

Thursday, August 2
Working group to be set up to review the creation of Security Council

A working group is to be set up in the nearest future in the government’s administration to look at how to create a Security Council.

As InterPressNews was informed, the Working Group will be composed of representatives of executive agencies, members of the parliament, and experts to prepare the relevant legislative draft. The subject of the discussion is the establishment of a new agency under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister, which will be involved in the security policy planning process and will coordinate elaboration of national-level conceptual documents.

According to the information, obtained by InterPressNews, the working version of the draft on setting up a Security Council has already been prepared in the Parliament, according to which, the Security Council will be staffed by Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Defense, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Finance Minister, Head of State Security Service, Chief of General Staff. Members of the Parliament will not be permanent members of the Security Council, but in case of invitation, they will have the possibility to participate in the meeting of the Council. The Prime Minister will chair the Security Council.

By the latest legislative amendments of 2017, the State Security and Crisis Management Board was abolished, and a new structure from the Emergency Situations Management Service was created, which only provided a component of emergency situations. According to the amendments to the law, the government was determined to coordinate security issues. (IPN)

Marijuana Sanctions Ban Prompts Calls for Abolishing Constitutional Court

The decision of the Constitutional Court of Georgia to outlaw administrative sanctions for non-prescribed use of marijuana has earned the criticism of the Georgian Orthodox Church and has drawn mixed reactions from political parties.

Zurab Japaridze of the New Political Center – Girchi, who filed the constitutional lawsuit, hailed the court ruling in a news briefing yesterday, saying the decision was a landmark and that it would make the country “a lot freer.”

“This makes Georgia the first country in the post-soviet space to legalize the use of marijuana completely, meaning that people will no longer be fined; there will no longer be any administrative sanctions,” Zurab Japaridze said.

Archpriest Andria Jagmaidze, a senior cleric in the Georgian Orthodox Church, commented on the court decision today, slamming it as “a betrayal to the nation.”

“Considering how low the youth awareness is about the negative effects of drug use, such easing can only be perceived as extremely negative,” the Archpriest noted, adding that the Constitutional Court “needs to be abolished entirely.”

“How can four judges of the Constitutional Court issue unclear decisions, ignore the will of four million people and agree on harmful decisions based on their unclear logic,” Archpriest Jagmaidze told reporters.

Similar calls were voiced by Shalva Natelashvili, the leader and the presidential candidate of the opposition Labor Party. “As a society, we have agreed that sending people to jail for smoking marijuana is not right, but what the Constitutional Court decided yesterday was a historical crime,” Natelashvili quipped, adding that the Constitutional Court will be “dissolved, abolished and merged” with the common courts, if he wins the presidential race.

Some ruling party politicians seem to agree. MP Mirian Tsiklauri of the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia told reporters today that the court decision was made by “irresponsible people,” and was equal to “betraying the nation and the state.”

“Four appointed judges should not have such powers; they have so much power that they can even annul election results,” Tsiklauri added. Asked whether he was in favor of abolishing the Constitutional Court, Tsiklauri said this was only a “tentative idea,” and that he had no “solid views” on the matter, but would “start thinking about it together with friends.” (