The Georgian Orthodox Church has come out against ‘the legalisation’ of drugs in Georgia, saying it is considering denying religious rituals to Orthodox Christians who die of an overdose. In a meeting of the Holy Synod, the Church’s ruling body, they called for harsh sentences for drug dealers, while also advocating treatment for users. [Read more…]
The future of the drug decriminalisation bill being considered by Georgia’s parliament has become even more uncertain, after the Interagency Council Against Drug Use, an official advisory body set up in 2011, discussed an alternative, ‘gradual decriminalisation’ initiative. Drug policy activists denounced the initiative, as it would not abolish Article 273 of the Criminal Code, which criminalises the use or possession of drugs in small quantities.
A bill to decriminalise drug use and possession of small quantities has been put on hold, as an interagency commission has expressed support for a new government draft drug policy law. The new bill has faced backlash from activists and rights groups, who say it does not address the problems with the country’s drug policy.
A number of minor opposition parties and drug reform advocacy groups have directly accused Georgia’s authorities of blame for the reported poisoning of at least 10 people, with one dead at the GemFest music festival. They argue that the government’s strict drug laws meant that drug users do not know what substances they are taking, and are unable to verify them. [Read more…]