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PM Bakhtadze Confirms Georgia will Export Marijuana

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, September 13
Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze confirmed on Wednesday that Georgia would export marijuana for medical and cosmetic purposes.

He said that the Interior Ministry has already initiated the change within the draft law which imposes restrictions on the marijuana consumption after the legalization of marijuana consumption by the Georgian Constitutional Court this summer.

The opposition says if such a decision is made, not only the state, others should also be given a right to cultivate cannabis.

The Georgian church is strongly against such an export.

Bakhtadze vowed that marijuana consumption for export purposes will be “strongly administered and regulated.”

Interior Ministry Giorgi Gakharia claimed that his body is capable of carrying out an effective control on marijuana cultivation and export issues.

The PM said that the draft law elaborated by the Interior Ministry should be timely approved by parliament, as for now, law enforcers do not know how to act if they mention somebody publicly consumes marijuana.

He said that the Interior Ministry draft law strongly prohibits marijuana consumption in public areas, public transport, in the presence of minors, near and in educational institutions and at workplaces.

Bakhtadze said that public servants, teachers, doctors and representatives of other professions will face sanctions if they are found to be under the influence of marijuana.

The PM stated that popularization of marijuana consumption as well as advertising the issue will be punished.

Gakharia added that the involvement of adults under 21 in marijuana consumption would be punished by the criminal code.

The Georgian church has appealed to the government not to make Georgia a “drug-dealing” country, as this “will bring us to fatal consequences.”

Before October 2015, Georgia’s laws on marijuana say a person is to be jailed for 7 to 14 years if found with a large amount of marijuana. The same code determined 50-500g of marijuana as "a large amount.”

In October 2015 the Constitutional Court delivered a verdict and stated that if an individual was found with up to 70g of dried marijuana they must not be sent to prison, as previous punishment outlined.

In 2016 the court stated repeated marijuana users would not be sent to prison.

Georgia’s Constitutional Court stated last year that no one would be sent to prison for using marijuana, which meant marijuana consumption was decriminalized.

In August this year, the administrative punishment was also removed for marijuana consumption, which meant consumption was legalized.