Georgia’s Constitutional Court has struck down a law which sent many young people to prison for using marijuana.
Being charged with possession and consumption of marijuana will no longer land you in jail in Georgia, after the Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled it unconstitutional to use sanctions prescribed by the law for consumption, purchase, possession and cultivation of the plant for individual purposes.
The Court made its decision based on a lawsuit filed by the Public Defender’s Office, demanding to suspend the penalty of imprisonment, as it is an ‘irrelevant, too strict and degrading’ form of punishment.
“The Constitutional Court found that the norms referring to the use of a small amount of marijuana, as well as its purchase, storage and product on, are unconstitutional,” the statement reads.
Under the Criminal Code of Georgia, it is illegal to purchase or keep a small amount of marijuana or, its analogy or precursor, for personal use or their use without a doctor’s prescription, and violation of the ban is punishable by fine, or 120 to 180 hours of community labor, or imprisonment for one year.
Last year, the Constitutional Court struck down a law that imposed up to 12 year prison sentences for persons caught with small amounts of marijuana.
However, the consumption of marijuana, which grows in the wild many places in Georgia, was not considered a criminal offense until 2006, when president Mikheil Saakashvili launched an anti-drug campaign. Between 2008 and 2013, thousands of Georgians were detained and forced to undergo drug tests.