Constitutional Court: Reaction to the Decision on Marijuana is Damaging

The Constitutional Court of Georgia has released a statement regarding its recent decision on marijuana consumption. The court says that media and public speculation that their decision was the result of political pressure is untrue and damaging to the court’s credibility.

The statement was released by the court in response to recent reactions from media, political and religious organizations to the July 30 decision. The court accuses various organizations of releasing "groundless information...which casts doubt on the independence of the court and discredits each member of the court” implying that “the Constitutional Court and its members were subjected to pressure on legalized marijuana use.” The accusations are “far from the content of the court decision and a misinterpretation,” according to the statement.

The statement encouraged the public to be engaged with the court, saying, “We consider the maximum public involvement in court activities and interest in and criticism of court decisions to be essential for the development and effectiveness of constitutional control of the state. The critical attitude towards the decisions of the Constitutional Court on the part of different members of society is a natural phenomenon, as the Constitutional Court makes decisions on issues of importance towards which society does not have a homogeneous approach.”

The court said that recent statements in the media and from political and religious organizations “do not contain any substantial facts” and “harm the authority of the Constitutional Court” with their “false conclusions.” The statement urged the public to make assessments of the court’s actions based on facts and not “unverified, incorrect information,” the dissemination of which poses “risks to the judicial credibility of the court, which ultimately affect constitutional control [of the state] and effective protection of human rights.”

The July 30 decision was not the court’s first ruling regarding marijuana. The most recent decision “is a logical continuation of the argument formed by the decisions taken by the Constitutional Court in recent years on the marijuana issue and it is unclear why [this decision] has become a target for unsubstantiated criticism of the Constitutional Court” read the statement.

On July 30, the Constitutional Court declared that administrative punishment for use of the drug marijuana was unconstitutional, when consumption does not create any threat to third parties. An administrative punishment is still constitutional, however, in settings such as educational institutions, in some public areas (such as public transit), and in the presence of juveniles.


By Samantha Guthrie

13 August 2018 17:07