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Death at GEM fest

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, August 7
A 23-year-old young woman died in Georgia’s western seaside Anaklia town on August 3 for using an unidentified psychoactive substance when attending the GEM fest musical festival.

Two others, who were transported with her to hospital, survived.

The next day, six other people were brought to hospital with the drug-related sickness.

Between August 3 and 5, police detained five people for possessing and selling drugs in the seaside area.

One of them, Bakar Korchia, is a supporter of the White Noise movement, which has been demanding the liberalization of the drug policy in Georgia.

Korchia was detained for possessing and selling an especially large amount of drugs and could face 8 to 20 years or termless imprisonment.

Shortly after his detention, White Noise released a special statement in which they stressed the arrest could be used to advocate for a “repressive policy” for drug-related activities.

Activists of White Noise demanded “fast and fundamental drug reform” which would reduce risks and ensure approaches targeted for people’s healthcare and social welfare.

The movement claimed one of the reasons for not addressing medical facilities in case of drug intoxication, which claimed lives, was the country's tough drug policy.

GEM fest representatives told the media they “strongly controlled” the entry of illegal materials into the summer festival.

Georgia has partly liberalized its policy in terms of marijuana usage (only for personal use), but using and selling other drugs remains a serious crime.