TBILISI, DFWatch–The ruling Georgian Dream coalition is preparing a bill to decriminalize the use of marihuana.
Head of parliament’s human rights committee Eka Besealia said the coalition plans to introduce certain measures regarding marihuana, because certain substances are on the list of drugs in Georgia which aren’t included in the UN convention.
“This doesn’t mean that we will encourage someone, but the approach should be changed,” she said, adding that Georgia’s list of illegal drugs should be changed so as to be consistent with the UN convention.
The MP says the law should be more liberal towards the drug user, while the distributor should be punished.
A commission is already created to study the issue and is holding consultations with local and international experts about how the criminal code must be changed in terms of the severity of punishment for using drugs, which may apply to the other substances too.
According to the current version of the criminal code, the use of drugs — including marihuana — is punished by fine or three years in jail. Repeated use is punished with from two to five years in jail.
Producing, possessing, transporting and distributing drugs, including marihuana, is punished by up to eleven years in jail.
Georgia’s active social network users have been calling for marihuana to be decriminalized for about three years and have created a Facebook page which already has more than 5 000 supporters.
Users about a month ago planned to hold a large rally outside the old parliament building in Tbilisi on June 2, 2013, demanding that marihuana is decriminalized.
Organizers say that the goal of the rally will be to defend personal liberties, not the popularization of marihuana.
They write in a leaflet that use of marihuana may not be desirable, but it is not civilized in the 21. century for a state to persecutes people for using marihuana.
“We think it is necessary to categorize drugs – marihuana should be separated from drugs, the use of which is punished by criminal or administrative persecution and using it should be decriminalized,” the statement reads.