Store selling heroin, cocaine, meth, MDMA opens in Vancouver’s east side
Store selling heroin, cocaine, meth, MDMA opens in Vancouver’s east side

A Vancouver man has opened a physical store to sell heroin, cocaine, meth, MDMA, and a host of other drugs in the city’s downtown eastside, which has been plagued by the homelessness and addiction crisis for years. 

Jerry Martin, 51, opened the Drug Store on Wednesday, according to Vice News. 

In January, BC began a three-year drug decriminalization program for possession of small amounts of opioids, cocaine, MDMA, and meth. The pilot did not expand the sale of illicit drugs, so Martin’s store is operating illegally. 

Credit: Vice News

Martin told VICE News he opened the store because he wants to give people drugs without adulterants. 

“People are dying,” he said. “Especially now, they’ve allowed the entire province to do these drugs… But they’ve provided no clean, safe supply. They’re getting it from the same supply that everybody’s overdosing from.” 

In total, a record 1,644 people died from illicit drugs in the first nine months of 2022. Drug deaths are the leading cause of unnatural death in BC, with 10,505 people dying since a public health emergency was declared in 2016. 

Marshall Smith, chief of staff to Alberta’s premier, said the shop signifies the “ultimate goal” of the liberalization movement.

“Their goal is the full legalization and commercialization of hard drugs,” he told True North. 

Smith was a homeless drug addict on the streets of Vancouver for four years before treatment. He’s since became a strong advocate for treatment and works within the political system to bring about change. 

After Smith’s recovery, former Alberta premier Jason Kenney brought him to Alberta to head up the mental health and addictions file. He was promoted to chief of staff when Danielle Smith became premier in October. 

Under Smith’s watch, the UCP has prioritized treatment over safe supply and has spent hundreds of millions towards implementing vision. 

“It’s been a long distance to travel from where I was to here,” he told True North in December. 

“For those that are out there suffering or having difficulty with this, know not only is recovery possible, but you can get your life back and go on to do great things.” 

Martin said he will sell users a max of 2.5 grams of each drug. That’s the amount a person can have without facing criminal consequences under the province’s pilot program. 

Martin also said he’s charging street prices, with grams of cocaine and meth going for $90 and $50, respectively. He also said he’ll validate IDs to ensure customers are 18, and have customers sign a wave that they’ve already used the drugs they’ll purchase from him. 

If Martin is arrested, his lawyer Paul Lewin has already prepared arguments to launch a constitutional challenge. 

“He would allege that laws that prevent a safe supply and result in death by poisoning contravene section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and must be struck down,” Lewin wrote in a letter to Martin’s potential landlords and business partners. 

Under Section 7 of the Charter, which was used to strike down medical cannabis restrictions, Canadians have “the right to life, liberty, and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.” 

In Canada, the maximum penalty for selling Schedule I or II drugs is life in prison. 

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