Man Arrested Less Than 24 Hours After Opening Hard Drugs Store In Canada

Man Arrested Less Than 24 Hours After Opening Hard Drugs Store In Canada Facebook/Jerry Martin

A Vancouver man was arrested less than 24 hours after he opened The Drugs Store, a shop selling meth, cocaine, heroin, and MDA to the general public. Jerry Martin launched the mobile shop in the Downtown Eastside, where overdoses are common and often fatal. While his criminal enterprise was clearly illegal, he insists he did it for altruistic reasons: to provide those struggling with addiction with a safe supply of fentanyl-free drugs.

Vancouver Police charged Martin with drug trafficking “in connection with an illicit drug dispensary that began operating yesterday in the Downtown Eastside,” it said in a statement. An investigation had been launched only a few hours “after the suspect started selling cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, and heroin out of a mobile trailer parked near Main and Cordova streets.”

Martin advertised the store’s goods by setting out a sandwich board of product listings and their prices. He was charging $10 for one-tenth of a gram of meth and $250 for 2.5 grams of crack. Inside the shop, he stood behind a plexiglass window and wore a stab-proof vest as he made his sales.

While authorities recognize that addiction is a serious problem and appreciate the intention behind Jerry Martin’s drugs store, they don’t believe that’s the correct way to fight the issue.

“We support measures aimed at improving public safety for people who use drugs, including harm reduction services and decriminalization,” said Constable Tania Visintin said in a press release. “However, we remain committed in our position that drug trafficking will continue to be the subject of enforcement.”

While Martin has been released on bail, he’s now banned from the Downtown Eastside as part of his conditions. It’s unclear what and how many charges have been filed against him. However, police did seize a sum of Canadian currency as well as two vehicles and some body armor.

Jerry Martin told Vice that part of his inspiration for opening The Drugs Store was his stepbrother Gord Rennie, who died of an overdose last year. He hoped that by being arrested, he could launch a constitutional challenge against prohibition on the grounds that it’s only making the drugs epidemic worse in Canada.

Martin was previously arrested in 2019 on marijuana trafficking charges after opening his own medical marijuana dispensary “out of compassion for patients.”

Jennifer has been the managing editor of Bolde since its launch in 2014. Before that, she was the founding editor of HelloGiggles and also worked as an entertainment writer for Bustle and Digital Spy. Her work has been published in Bon Appetit, Decider, Vanity Fair, The New York TImes, and many more.