Georgia to Become the Netherlands of Eastern Europe

Georgia becomes First Eastern European Country to Legalize Cannabis

The Constitutional Court of Georgia, having satisfied the claim of the Girchi party, declared anti-constitutional any sanctions for consuming marijuana.

Georgia is a new democratic Eastern European country, and legalization of marijuana in the country is one of the most discussed topics. Georgian liberals welcomed the verdict of the country’s highest court, although it causes many problems in practical terms since the harvesting, storage, and distribution of marijuana remain a criminal offense.

However, there is also a fear of an increase in “soft-drug” consumption, as in Georgia the law and regulations are still not perfect and this legalization can lead to illegal use and production of marijuana.

The Constitutional Court (CC) of Georgia, in the capital of Adjara, Batumi, after many months of proceedings, satisfied the claim of the leaders of the libertarian party “Girchi” Zurab Dzhaparidze and Vakhtang Megrelishvili about full decriminalization of marijuana consumption.

This issue causes various discussions since Georgia has laws against marijuana, the highest court instance abolished the current norms of the administrative code, according to which a person could be fined 500 GEL (approximately $200) for smoking marijuana. At the same time, the court ruling states that any punishment (including administrative) for consuming marijuana is unfair and does not meet the interests of society. According to Georgian authorities, “harms only the consumer and does not harm the society.”

The constitutional court reset the criminal punishment for consuming marijuana, including a large fine and even imprisonment under the article for “malicious smoking”, having considered the suit of “Girchi”. The Constitutional Court ruled that imprisonment for smoking marijuana “is contrary to the individual’s right to relaxation and free development.”

Court announced last year, smoking of marijuana in Georgia was completely legalized.

Liberal authorities were very excited by these new rules, as they think it’s a big step for liberalization and democratization of Georgia. Zurab Dzhaparidze congratulated compatriots on the victory and declared that henceforth Georgia is a “more liberal country”. And, other authorities, mostly from liberal parties agreed. Some restrictions on smoking “weed” still remain in force though.

For example, you can’t smoke marijuana in public places, transport, educational institutions or in some other cases. But in these places, the current law prohibits smoking not only a narcotic substance but even ordinary tobacco.

The decisions of the constitutional court of November 30, 2018, and July 30 create a paradoxical situation: it turns out that you can smoke marijuana, but you cannot buy, purchase, store or transport it. This is definitely a big step forward for Georgia that shows pro-democratic future of the country.

Georgia is one of the Eastern European countries that thinking about the legalization of hemp. Poland is already enabled its citizens to buy medical marijuana in its drug stores. Ukrainian authorities, especially new ones already sign their pro-marijuana position, and we even can witness marches for the legalization of marijuana.

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