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Georgia may legalize marijuana - minister

May 10, 2013, 21:53 UTC+3

“A well thought-out strategy is needed in this issue,” he said

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TBILISI, May 10 (Itar-Tass) - Georgia’s government is eyeing an opportunity for legalizing marijuana, Labour, Health and Social Affairs Minister David Sergienko told reporters on Friday.

“A well thought-out strategy is needed in this issue, as in some cases bans may have ricochet effects,” he said. “The fact that we are working on this issue in Georgia does not mean that we will wake up one day and see marijuana at supermarkets’ shelves.”

The talks about possible legalization of marijuana in Georgia began two years ago. In summer 2011 some Georgian newspapers wrote that “the parliament is drafting a bill on partial legalization of marijuana in recreation zones.” It was also noted that only foreign tourists will be permitted to buy and smoke marijuana in special cafes.

Newspapers wrote that Georgia planned to legalize marijuana “to lure more foreign tourists.”

In response representatives of some non-governmental organizations expressed their categorical protest, while the parliament and the government announced that “such issue was not on the agenda” and media reports are “a usual journalistic hoax.”

Under Georgia’s effective laws, for abuse of drugs, including marijuana, a person can face a fine of 500 lari (around $300) and/or a 30 day administrative detention. In the case of a repeat violation one may face up to one year in prison.

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