Youth Movement Protests Pot Prohibition in Ex-Soviet Georgia


A protest in the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia to demand legalization of personal drugs use, with an emphasis on cannabis, points to changing times in the former USSR. The youth group has already pressured the nation’s top court to strike down penalties for cannabis possession, but the activists are still pressing forward with their campaign — a sign of a cultural thaw in a region with very harsh drug laws. Thousands of young people gathered in front of the Georgian parliament building in capital Tbilisi on May 12 — not over a contested election, the sort of thing that usually sparks demonstrations in the former Soviet republics, but to protest police drug raids on two nightclubs the previous evening. In addition to calling for the resignation of the interior minister, protesters demanded legalization of personal possession of cannabis and other “recreational” drugs. As the New York Times reports, even though the protesters were labeled as derelicts and drug addicts, the government took the demonstration seriously enough to offer negotiations — and to move water cannons into position in the streets of Tbilisi, the country’s capital. Protesters held the square outside the parliament building through the night. Youth Movement Protests Pot Prohibition in Ex-Soviet Georgia

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