Vancouver police say they have arrested a man operating a storefront selling illicit drugs including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and MDMA.
Drug user advocate Jerry Martin opened the shop, based out of a mobile trailer, Wednesday evening in the city’s Downtown Eastside.
In an interview with Motorcycle accident toronto today, he said ‘The Drugs Store’ was selling drugs tested for fentanyl in an effort to provide safe supply and reduce overdoses.
“Just for someone buying their drugs, this is a lot safer. People have to go through many things to get their drugs — you could get robbed in an alley and many women get abused,” he told Motorcycle accident toronto today on Wednesday.
“It’s also going to stop a lot of the overdoses as people don’t even know what they are getting (typically). It’s very important that people know when they are buying something, they are getting that product.”
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In a Thursday media release, Vancouver Police Department said the arrest followed an investigation by its Organized Crime Section.
“We support measures aimed at improving public safety for people who use drugs, including harm reduction services and decriminalization,” Const. Tania Visintin. said in the release.
“However, we remain committed in our position that drug trafficking will continue to be the subject of enforcement.”
Investigators also seized two vehicles, body armour and cash, police said.
Police said they released the man pending his next court appearance, and that he has been banned from the Downtown Eastside as a condition of his release.
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The appearance of the mobile drugs store comes about four months after British Columbia began a three-year experiment with the decriminalization of possession of small quantities of some hard drugs.
That initiative is meant to reduce the stigma of drug use and keep drug users out of a cycle of incarceration but has proved controversial in many quarters.
The arrest likely comes as no surprise to Martin, who told Motorcycle accident toronto today he expected the initiative to land him in court.
Martin said he hopes to launch a constitutional challenge of Canada’s drug laws.
With files from Darrian Matassa-Fung
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