Tbilisi, Georgia

Jaanus Jagomägi

Georgia Wants to Grow & Export Cannabis But Not Allow Consumption

A bill introduced in the Georgia Parliament is seeking to legalize the cultivation of cannabis for export but not legalize domestic consumption, according to a story by Radio Free Europe.

The language of the bill allows cultivation for export only, specifically for cosmetic and pharmaceutical use. Georgia decriminalized possession and consumption in November 2017; however, the growing or distribution of cannabis remains illegal.

Opponents of the bill decry the hypocrisy of allowing commercial cultivation for export while still not allowing sales inside the country. A leading Parliament Deputy for the European Georgia party, Giga Bokeria said, “[The government] wants to produce it while punishing others for [using] it? This is absurd.”

Government profiteering and individual corruption are suspected in the equation, which is why the Georgian Orthodox Church, among others, opposes the bill. Bishop Iacob Iakobashvili commented:

“It’s a big mistake — maybe the authorities think about the [country’s] budget in this way, but they do not think about national security at all. None of our law enforcement agencies enjoys such confidence that they can be safely entrusted with the protection of these [marijuana] plantations — we risk becoming another Afghanistan or Colombia.” — Iacob Iakobashvili, via RadioFreeEurope

Georgia is in the process of reforming its drug laws. A nation that has historically had some of the strictest drug laws in Europe, Georgian lawmakers have pledged further reforms since the 2017 decriminalization law — this bill, however, is the only one that has been written so far.

Meanwhile, approximately one-third of all prisoners in Georgia are incarcerated on drug charges.

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