News & Analysis

Georgia plans to export marijuana

Georgia’s government has prepared a draft law on the plantation and export of marijuana for cosmetic and pharmaceutical use. The idea was proposed by the ruling  Georgian Dream party. According to the draft law, the production of marijuana will require licensing, and a framework will be created regulating where marijuana will be grown. It is well-known that Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of Georgian Dream supports the idea.

“In some places people cultivate corn or beans and in others marijuana. Production will be licensed and the idea is to bring as much income into the country, as possible,” said Guguli Magradze, a Georgian Dream MP.

“The whole world is trying to diversify agriculture, and in many developed economies you can see that the cultivation of marijuana is close to the top of the agenda, especially for medicinal use. I think that this initiative will be very supportive to the Georgian economy, but to be on the safe side, we have to set very tough regulations because producing marijuana for consumption is not the aim of this project,” Nino Zambakhidze, CEO of the Georgia Farmers Association, told Emerging Europe. According to her,  increasing awareness among the population before starting marijuana plantation is crucial.

The Georgian Orthodox Church has sent mixed messages about the idea. Previously, the church was very critical of anyone who used any kind of drugs, but a more relaxed attitude now appears to be emerging. According to Bishop Iakob Iakobashvili, people should not be jailed for the consumption of marijuana. However,  Bishop Shio Mujiri believes that marijuana exports represent a huge risk for the country.

Georgia recently decriminalised smoking marijuana, but not its sale.