Glass splinters in cocaine, dangerous extenders such as fentanyl or chemical contaminants: Anyone who buys drugs on the street must reckon with more risks than drug consumption already entails. A man in Vancouver now wanted to draw attention to this with a remarkable action. And quickly opened a drug store.
In a parked camping trailer, Jerry M. began selling drugs professionally on Wednesday. His store, christened "The Drugs Store," differed significantly from how one can otherwise acquire illegal drugs. M. had a sign made with the house rules, and the price tag was also professionally printed on plastic. But the goods had it all: The range consisted of heroin, cocaine, crack, methamphetamine and MDMA, i.e. ecstasy.
No wonder the police weren't long in coming. Vancouver police said in a statement that they quickly began collecting evidence against the drug store. The man was arrested "in connection with an illegal drug trading center that he began operating yesterday," officials confirmed on Thursday.
However, that was his plan from the start, M. explained to "Vice". He wanted to cast doubt on Canada's drug policy as a whole. And possibly take action against it with a constitutional complaint. His argument is quite understandable: the ban on numerous very addictive substances creates a highly lucrative market that is mainly served by unscrupulous criminals. And they don't shy away from adding dangerous substances to their products, thereby endangering their customers.
In fact, M. ran his drug store the way he would want the addicts to do it. He only sold the drugs to those over 18, and each customer was allowed to buy a maximum of 2.5 grams of each drug per visit. And: all the substances he sold had been tested for contamination in the laboratory.
The police also see a certain justification for this kind of activism. As in the US, an opioid crisis is raging in Canada. In 2022, an average of almost 20 people died there every day as a result of their drug use, the health authority explains. "We support efforts to increase safety for drug users, including measures to reduce their health risk and legal consequences," the police press release said. "In relation to drug trafficking, however, we still believe that tough action is the way forward."
M. told Vice that he was also inspired by his stepbrother. He died of an overdose last year after a long addiction.
Sources: Vice, press release, Public Health Canada Drugs Report