As of 30th July 2018, Georgia (the country, not the US state) has legalized cannabis. This makes it the first former member of the Soviet Union to legalize it.
Georgia’s constitutional court ruled that punishing an individual for using cannabis restricts an individual’s freedom. This is because the plant can only “potentially” cause harm to the user, Radio Free Europe reported. The court ruled that punishing a person for using pot will only be allowed if their actions put a third party at risk. However, cultivation and sale of cannabis remain illegal.
Japaridze had been quoted saying: “I would like to congratulate everybody on the decision made by the Constitutional Court,” by local English-language newspaper Georgia Today. “Administrative punishment for consumption of marijuana was revoked by the Constitutional Court, which means that consumption of marijuana in Georgia is now legal.”
In November 2017, the same court ruled to decriminalize consumption of cannabis. Georgia’s Criminal Code previously punished for repeatedly using cannabis and possessing more than 70 grams.
For years, campaigners and opposition politicians campaigned for legalization. They welcomed the legalization as a major victory.
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“I do not agree with the decision of the Constitutional Court,” said Akaki Zoidze, chair of the healthcare committee in Georgia’s parliament. Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize and regulate cannabis and marijuana for recreational use in 2013. In June 2018, the Parliament of Canada passed legislation that will see recreational marijuana legalized by October this year, also allowing for regulation and sales. Many other countries have also made moves to decriminalize cannabis for personal use. This is great news and the number of countries around the world planning to legalize is increasing.
Georgia, a former Soviet Union member that has recently sought to improve ties with Moscow, has now moved to legalize cannabis, but Russia remains an opponent to global legalization efforts. Following Ottawa’s June decision, Russia lashed out, calling the move a “breach” of Canada’s “international legal obligations.”