Georgian Church opposes legalization of marijuana

Tbilisi, June 25, 2018

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The Holy Synod of the Georgian Orthodox Church believes that, alongside the process of the liberalization of drug policy, the federal authorities should take “strict legal measures” against drug dealers and distributors, reports Interfax-Religion.

At the same time, the Church advocates for treatment for drug users.

“The Constitutional Court of Georgia is currently considering a case on abolishing the administrative punishment for possessing narcotic substances—up to 70 grams of marijuana, which practically means the legalization of this narcotic,” read the minutes of the Synod’s session.

The Synod notes that this logically brings up questions of legal means of obtaining the drug. “In the end, all of this creates a basis for the legal cultivation of marijuana in Georgia, which is completely unacceptable,” the minutes state.

Non-par­lia­men­tary political party Girchi is currently chal­leng­ing any admin­is­tra­tive pun­ish­ment for cannabis use, which is presently set at a fine of $200 (500 lari) or 1–6 months of cor­rec­tion­al work, reports OC Media.

The Synod also notes that “permission to produce cannabis really means the legalization of drug trafficking, which will bring severe consequences to the country.”

The Georgian hierarchs call on the state to take a number of concrete steps in this direction—in particular, to establish in a timely manner special rehabilitation centers for people who are dependent upon drugs, to actively include the media in a campaign to promote healthy lifestyles and change the public opinion regarding drug use, and to introduce a special training course in schools to explain to children and adolescents how dangerous drugs are for their health.

The Church especially emphasized the need to toughen measures for illegal possession and the distribution of narcotics in public places, especially to adolescents.

According to official data, there are 29 drug addicts for every 10,000 people in Georgia, and of those, only a small part (11.5%) is being treated. The most common drug is marijuana, used by 63.9% of the drug addicts in the country.

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