The Parliament adopted amendments to the Criminal Code of Georgia, toughening penalties for illegal drug dealing, with 84 in favor and one against. The law comes into force 15 days after being published.
The new rules, authored by the Interior Ministry, envisage increased prison terms for both dealing with illegal narcotics, as well as psychotropic drugs. As per the amendments, the illegal selling of narcotics (Article 260.4 of the Criminal Code) will now carry a prison term of 10 to 15 years, up from the previous penalty of 6 to 11 years in prison.
The same crime committed in large quantity, by a group with a preliminary agreement, by using an official position or repeatedly (Article 260.5 of the CC) will be punishable with a prison sentence from 12 to 17 years, unlike the previous term of 7 to 14 years.
Meanwhile, illegal selling of drugs in particularly large quantities or by an organized group will now be punishable with a sentence of 14 to 20 years or life imprisonment, with the minimum prison term being increased from the previous eight years.
As for psychotropic substances, their analogs, or potent substances, the lawmakers have introduced entirely new provisions. Previously, dealing with such substances was punishable under Article 261 (1,2,3,4), which involved illegal manufacturing, transfer, storage and sale. Now the lawmakers have introduced a separate clause for the sale, with harsher punishment than the rest of the activities.
The penalty for selling a psychotropic substance will be imprisonment for a term of 3 to 6 years, while selling potent substances will entail imprisonment of up to four years. The previous penalty for the former was a fine, corrective labor up to two years or a 3-year prison term for the former, and a fine or corrective labor up to one year for the latter.
Selling these substances in large amounts or in other aggravating circumstances will carry a 5-to-9 year sentence, increased from previously envisaged 3 to 7 years of prison. Selling psychotropic drugs or potent substances in particularly large amounts or as part of an organized group will be punishable with 10 to 14 years in prison, increased from the previous penalty of 7 to 12 years of incarceration.
The changes come in the wake of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili’s remarks slamming “liberal” drug policy. He has said the Government plans to propose toughening rules for the sale of psychotropic drugs at pharmacies.