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Secret Meeting

By Levan Khutsishvili
Tuesday, September 25
On September 22, the prime minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze stated that there was a need of stronger communication with the society while working on the cannabis cultivation initiative, and unless the intensive dialogue is not provided with all interested parties, Government will not “Initiate the draft law”.

"We have worked out a very strict regulation of consumption, considering each and every risk that can accompany social life and we have declared that by making these regulations, we set society as the main priority, especially the health of our young generations.

Our initiative meant cultivation only for medical purposes and only for export markets. I think that in this part more communication was needed with the public, so, until having an intensive dialogue with all stakeholders, we will not force the initiative,“ said Mamuka Bakhtadze.

The draft law on the cultivation and sale of marijuana in the parliament was postponed on September 16, which was initiated by the government and official reason of it was named by the Chairman of Parliament of Georgia – Irakli Kobakhidze: “Society needs to be better informed”.

"In parliament, was initiated a package of the bill, which deals with the regulation of marijuana consumption in Georgia and the production of hemp. It is important for us to act in accordance with the public mood. The society must be informed about the content of such issues. We need time to inform society and accordingly we have decided to discuss these issues in two parts and if there are questions in the society that this bill can encourage illegal circulation of drugs, in this case, we are ready for consultations and if we will be convinced of it we will withdraw the bill " - said the Chairman of the Parliament.

The talks about the withdrawal and cancellation of the draft law started right after the intense protest from the Georgian Orthodox Church. When Government sounded the initiative about the cultivation of marijuana, Patriarch of Georgia distributed preaching, talking about the drug addiction as an illness and asking the government to fight against it. After the preaching, some representatives of Orthodox Church organized a demonstration against the marijuana cultivation, representatives of the church were attending the discussions of the draft law in legal issues Committee of parliament. In the beginning, the government was stressing the topic of economic benefits from marijuana cultivation and export, but the influence of the church is visible. Church speaks by the name of society, and the government needs to obey, especially a month before the elections.

"The draft law is not about production and export of any drugs. But, in any case, we will never think about the economic benefits if there is the smallest possibility that it will harm society. If we see that the bill brings damage or contains a threat to society, naturally we will put our economy on the side,“ said Irakli Kobakhidze.

These decisions of government and statements from the prime minister and the chairman of parliament are especially interesting when Archbishop Jakob says that he met with a person who makes decisions about the marijuana issues and after this meeting, the government changed its mind. Archbishop Jakob denies that person he met was Bidzina Ivanishvili, so it is questionable, who else has such influence on the government?

“I think it was a healthy meeting country. You see the result, so it is not important with whom I had a meeting,” said Archbishop Jakob.