The Patriarchate of Georgia was asked to suspend consideration of a bill on the decriminalization of drugs

*** Calls to include in this discussion all of society

Tbilisi. January 12. INTERFAX – the Patriarchate of Georgia considers that in the submitted to Parliament draft law for the liberalization of drug policy involving decriminalization of soft drugs, are not reflected critical issues to curb the possible negative consequences.

“We consider drug use a heavy sin, although the Patriarchate of Georgia has never supported and now don’t agree that drug addicts were sentenced to imprisonment,” – said in a statement released on Friday reads.

It is emphasized that the Georgian Church has always supported the tough measures against drug dealers, because “it is a crime against the people and the government should resist this action with all the severity that should be reflected in the supplementary regulations”.

The Patriarchate urged to protect families and children from the harmful effects of drug addicts, to actively engage the media to shape public opinion with the aim of introducing a healthy lifestyle, to introduce a special course in educational institutions to make the youth aware of what threatens them tomorrow in the case of drug addiction, and give them a negative attitude to drugs, as well as tougher measures for illegal importation of drugs into the country.

“It is evident that relevant government agencies at this stage are not ready to control the expected negative trends, and everyone should present their vision in this regard”, – said in a statement.

It notes that there are no such rehabilitation centers where drug addicts would be fully corrected.

“In the presented draft law does not stipulate these areas, suggesting the need for the suspension of consideration”, – stressed the MP.

The Patriarchate of Georgia advocates that this issue was widely discussed with the participation of the whole society – representatives of government, clergy, human rights activists, psychologists, doctors, lawyers, teachers, law enforcement officers, journalists, “so that hasty decisions do not put the country before the big test.”

As reported recently in Georgia frequent rallies organized by the public movement “White noise”, whose members require the authorities to end repressive drug policy and instead of the violent methods used against the drug users to think about protecting their health and develop humane approaches to drug addicts.

Initiated in the Georgian Parliament a bill to reform was developed by the National drug policy platform which brings together 41 non-governmental organization. However, the ruling party “Georgian dream” there is no consensus on this issue, in connection with the discussion of the legislative package is delayed.

Meanwhile, on 30 November 2017 the constitutional court of Georgia satisfied the claim of one of the representatives of the opposition party “Garci”, recognizing unconstitutional criminal penalties for marijuana use. And even earlier, in July, the constitutional court declared unconstitutional the legal rule under which the crops or cultivation of small amounts of marijuana for personal use is a criminal offence.

According to official data, in Georgia, for every 10 thousand people there are 29 drug addicts, of which only a small proportion (11,5%) are undergoing treatment. The most common drug is cannabis – its use 63.9% of the total number of addicts in the country.