Vancouver police arrest The Drugs Store operator on opening day
The man behind The Drugs Store was arrested in the Downtown Eastside Wednesday, on the first day he opened his mobile store.
Officers arrested one man for drug trafficking in connection with the “illicit dispensary,” the Vancouver Police Department said in a news release.
#VPDNews: VPD arrests illegal drug store operator selling cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, and heroin out of a mobile trailer parked near Main and Cordova streets.
More Information: https://t.co/MDzMExofnh pic.twitter.com/gT5RLm2EtY
— Vancouver Police (@VancouverPD) May 4, 2023
Jerry Martin, creator of the dispensary-on-wheels, billed it as a harm-reduction initiative. He lost a brother to an overdose last year, and believes the need for safe supply is too great to keep waiting.
The store parked near Main and Cordova streets Wednesday evening, and began selling cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA in amounts of up to 2.5 grams — the limit for personal possession in BC’s trial project to decriminalize carrying small amounts of drugs.
“We support measures aimed at improving public safety for people who use drugs, including harm reduction services and decriminalization,” Const. Tania Visintin said. “However, we remain committed in our position that drug trafficking will continue to be the subject of enforcement.”
Officers seized two vehicles, body armour, and Canadian currency during the investigation.
The 51-year-old man arrested has been released from custody pending his next court appearance. His release conditions include a prohibition from returning to the Downtown Eastside.
Martin told Daily Hive in a January interview that he expected to be arrested and had planned for it. He said he’ll launch a legal challenge related to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, arguing people need access to safe drugs under Section 7, which entitles people to life, liberty, and security of person.