The constitutional court in the Republic of Georgia ruled Thursday that it is unconstitutional to criminally prosecute someone for consuming cannabis.
This de facto decriminalization does not affect the criminal punishments that still exist regarding the purchase or sale of cannabis, but the shift allows the personal choice to consume the herb.
“Cannabis consumption has been decriminalized today,” said Iago Khvichia, a lawyer for Girchi, a political party in Georgia that has been an integral ally in the fight against cannabis prohibition. “It will soon be decided whether [consumption] will be legalized,” Khvichia added.
Givi Shanidze is the Georgian citizen who brought forth the constitutional challenge in order to abolish his criminal record for repeated marijuana consumption offenses.
The decision on behalf of the constitutional court is the latest major development for cannabis reform in this former Soviet nation. On July 14, the constitutional court bestowed another win for marijuana when it declared the cultivation of up to 151 grams of pot for personal use was not a criminal offense.
Previous to the decriminalization of personal cannabis cultivation, the Girchi Party planted 84 marijuana seeds at their head office in January — an act of civil disobedience against cannabis cultivation prohibition. The plants were confiscated by authorities but no arrests were made.
Today’s decision by the justice system will now head to Parliament in order for the ruling to be adopted into law.
This article was originally published on Marijuana.com.
About Jon Hiltz: Jonathan Hiltz has been a journalist, a TV producer and marijuana advocate for over sixteen years. He has a wife, two young children and lives in the Toronto area.