Man plans to open store in Vancouver selling MDMA, cocaine, and more

Jan 17 2023, 12:31 am

A Metro Vancouver advocate plans to open a store selling MDMA, cocaine, and more this month to coincide with the province decriminalizing possession of several types of drugs.

Jerry Martin says offering safe supply is a key part of harm reduction, and believes his new store will save lives.

“Basically we’re going to provide safe, tested drugs and that will reduce overdoses for sure,” he said.

Martin plans to stock MDMA, methamphetamines, cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin. He’ll, of course, have to source the drugs illegally, but says he’ll ensure they’re tested and safe before selling them in his brick-and-mortar store.

He’s still ironing out the exact location since a storefront on Cordova Street recently backed out, but he’s confident the store will be operational by the time BC decriminalizes possession on January 31.

It will be called The Drugs Store and operate a delivery service called DrugsDash. Both will be subsidiaries of parent company The Safe Supply Project.

Martin previously operated Saskatchewan’s first cannabis dispensary for several years before moving to Delta, BC.

His brother died of an overdose a few months ago and he lost another brother to murder connected to the drug trade. That prompted him to become an advocate, working to shift how addiction and supply are viewed.

Martin acknowledges there’s danger in opening a store that sells controlled substances when trafficking those substances remains illegal, and says he’s prepared to be arrested. If that eventually happens, he plans to launch a legal challenge related to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

He’ll focus on Section 7, which entitles people to life, liberty, and security of person.

“They should be allowed to have safe and tested drugs so that they don’t overdose,” Martin said.

Vancouverites can already purchase legal cannabis from government-sanctioned stores and can also buy psilocybin mushrooms from several not-legal-but-not-shut-down dispensaries, too. Government-run safer supply initiatives also give select participants access to opioids in Vancouver.

But there’s not yet a physical store in Vancouver where customers can walk in, without a prescription, to purchase the drugs they want.

BC is set to begin a three-year pilot where possession of up to 2.5 grams of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, or MDMA won’t be pushed. It will run from January 31, 2023, until January 31, 2026.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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