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Girchi party leader quits politics

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, November 29
One of the leaders and founders of the Girchi opposition party, a Member of Parliament of Georgia under the United National Movement team, former chairman of Supreme Court Pavle Kublashvili announced about quitting politics.

In his statement released the day before yesterday, Kublashvili said he set up a law firm and would be engaged with non-political activities.

“Any of my statements related to politics will no longer be connected with Girchi,” Kublashvili announced.

Four people quit the United National Movement party - Zurab Japaridze, Pavle Kublashvili, Irakli Meladze and Giorgi Khachidze - and established Girchi in 2015.

Girchi was one of the members of the Paata Burchuladze - State for People political bloc created under the name of famous Georgian opera star Paata Buchuladze prior to this year, October 8 Parliamentary Elections.

However, shortly before the elections a controversy emerged between Girchi and Burchuladze, as Girchi members were accusing Burchuladze of blackmail and illegal financial operations.

As a result, Girchi did not take part in the elections.

Other members of the Girchi party have not yet commented on Kublashvili’s statement. Their key statements were dedicated to easing the state's drug policies.

Japaridze addressed the current Georgian Dream Government and demanded no punishment for the users of any type of drugs.

If the Government does not meet the demand, Japaridze said he and public activists would sow marijuana during a live TV broadcasting on New Year's Eve.

He also addressed the Government not to detain people participating in the process.

The punishment for use of marijuana, and not attempting to distribute, was eased under the Georgian Dream Government in 2015.

In October 2015, the Constitutional Court of Georgia delivered a verdict which stated if a person was caught with up to 70g of dried marijuana he/she would not be sent to prison, as the previous legislation envisaged.

Before October 2015, Georgia’s laws on marijuana stated a person to be jailed for seven to 14 years if he or she was found with a large amount of marijuana. The same law determined 50-500g of marijuana as "a large amount”.

In September this year, the same court stated that people previously sent to prison for cannabis use, or those who were punished by a court for smoking marijuana would not be sent to prison again if they committed the crime again.