Georgian Patriarch Ilia II has stated that improved economy in the country must not take place at the expense of the health, life, and development of younger generations. The Patriarch made the statement in response to marijuana issues-marijuana consumption legalization and the government’s initiative to export it."We must remember that this is dangerous because drug addicts from other countries will come here and enjoy this freedom. This will promote the spread of drug consumption in Georgia.
Patriarch on Marijuana: Why do We Need Better Economy, If we Lose Our Children?
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, September 18
“So, I would like to ask the government to look into it with great responsibility. We must not regard only economics, the income from the economics, why do we want such economics if we lose our children?! I hope that the church, the people and the government will jointly do everything in order to reduce the number of drug addicts," the patriarch said.
Regarding Marijuana export, from which the Georgian government expects millions of dollars profit, Ilia II says that the government needs to take responsibility and it should have control over the situation as this industry must not move to the private sector.
“If it is moved to the private sector, we will fail to control it. It should be defined by the law that the government is responsible for it," said Ilia II.
Archbishop Jacob, who is one of the most influential figures in the Georgian Patriarchate, has strongly criticized both marijuana consumption legalization and the drug's possible export, said that if the government does not step back, they will see rallies and the “power of people”.
The government representatives claim that the Patriarchate’s view is important to them.
Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze announced that discussions of the sections of the bill on marijuana export have been postponed in the legislative body, while lawmakers will only discuss the changes over marijuana consumption for now.
The Georgian Constitutional Court legalized marijuana consumption in the summer. In response, the Interior Ministry drafted a bill on marijuana consumption.
The bill reads that an individual can consume marijuana without any fine only in his/her home.
The new bill also includes sections on marijuana export from Georgia for medical and cosmetic purposes. The government claims that they will strongly control marijuana cultivation for export purposes.