In January of this year, Marijuana.com reported on a story coming out of the country of Georgia involving a political party named Girchi. The group had taken it upon themselves to challenge the Georgian government through an act of civil disobedience.
The party members planted 84 marijuana seeds at their head office, started to cultivate the plants, and then waited to see what would happen with law enforcement.
Inevitably, Girchi’s offices were raided and the cannabis was confiscated.
The latest development for this once oppressed-turned-progressive nation occurred on July 14th, when Georgia’s constitutional court declared that the cultivation of cannabis for personal use (151 grams) does not warrant criminal punishment. This judgment effectively decriminalized personal cannabis cultivation in the post-soviet state.
“The constitutional court of Georgia made a decision that planting and cultivation of cannabis up to 151 grams for personal use cannot be punished by putting people in jail,” said Zurab Japaridze, Chairman of the Girchi Party in an interview with Marijuana.com. “These articles were appealed to the constitutional court by three citizens. The defense for them was provided by the White Noise Movement.”
Japaridze went on to describe the significance of the decision for his country. “This is a major step forward. It will positively affect public opinion and attitude towards cannabis cultivation,” he said. “Girchi had not taken part in this lawsuit, however, we believe that our civic disobedience act and the consecutive decision of the government not to arrest us, played some role in the decision of the constitutional court.”
Japaridze noted that the results of the court’s decision are bigger than cannabis cultivation in Georgia. “It affects the public opinion. More and more people realize that putting people in jail for cultivation or use of cannabis is just crazy, irrational and uncivilized. Plus, any such decision provides a new boost for the public debate on cannabis and existing drug policy in general.”
This month marks a win for cannabis in the former Soviet Union, thanks to the country of Georgia. It is a highly positive development in a part of the world that, to date, has very little cannabis reform.