The country of Georgia’s Constitutional Court abolished punishments for the consumption of cannabis on July 30. The cultivation and solicitation of cannabis in Georgia will remain a crime.
The announcement makes Georgia the former Republic of the former Soviet Union to legalize cannabis consumption. The progress has been made in baby steps. In November 2017, the Constitutional Court decriminalized cannabis, but continued to impose fines for cannabis use.
The decision to remove the punishment for cannabis consumption was initiated by a lawsuit filed by Zurab Japaridze and Vakhtang Megrelishvili of the opposition Girchi party.
“According to the applicants, the consumption of marijuana is not an act of social threat,” the court stated in the ruling. “In particular, it can only harm the user’s health, making that user him/herself responsible for the outcome. The responsibility for such actions does not cause dangerous consequences for the public.”
“The Constitutional Court noted that the use of marijuana represents the right to person’s free development… according to the court, the individual consumption of marijuana plays a very weak role in facilitating its [marijuana] circulation,” the ruling read.
The liberal-leaning Girchi party has used cannabis as a selling point of its political platform during 2016 through today. Georgia is often considered as the “crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe.” Georgia, along with other Russian states, declared independence in 1991 as the Soviet Union was falling apart. The fall of Communism in Russia and surrounding areas opened up the doors to news ways of thinking, including non-state-controlled television, radio and loosened rules. Nowadays, popular Russian artists such as the rapper Guf
From now on, possession of cannabis in Georgia will only carry a punishment if a person puts others in danger. Consumption will also remained banned in areas such as schools, public transportation or public areas. The new law becomes effective immediately.