Georgian government withdraws controversial bill to legalise cannabis after consultations with the Church
02 November 2018

The Georgian government has withdrawn a draft bill in front of the parliament that would have seen the partial legalisation of cannabis. The bill was the subject of a lot of controversy in Georgian society over the last months. and had been severely criticised by circles within the Georgian Orthodox Church.

The Chairman of the Georgian parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze, and the Minister of Interior, Giorgi Gakharia, met Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilya II, on Friday morning (2 November), after which the withdrawal of the bill was announced. Speaking to journalists after the meeting Kobakhidze said that the government always insisted that this measure required a broad consensus within society, including an agreement with the Church, and in the absence of such consensus and agreement the bill was being withdrawn.

Some Georgian journalists and analysts have blamed the cannabis bill as one of the reasons for the ruling Georgian Dream's failure to secure outright victory in presidential elections held last Sunday. A second round is now expected early in December.

source: with agencies

photo: Catholicos Patriarch Ilya II of georgia meeting with senior government officials on 2 November 2018 (picture courtesy of Channel ! Public TV, Georgia)