Man plans to open shop selling heroin and meth says he ‘knows he’ll be arrested’

An ex-drug addict is planning to open a shop that sells Class A drugs, including heroin, cocaine, meth, MDMA, along with other drugs

Jerry Martin, 51, from Vancouver, Canada, wants to open the shop by the end of January as a way to reduce the rising number of deaths stemming from the nation's overdose crisis.

The Canadian government says it's one of the most serious public health crises in Canada's recent history, with more than 10,000 deaths since the crisis was first announced in 2016.

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British Columbia, a Canadian province, will kick off its radical new drug decriminalisation policy from January 31, which will mean it’s no longer illegal to possess certain amounts of Class A’s.

Selling those drugs will remain illegal.

Jerry, a former cocaine user, believes providing drugs in his new shop, The Drug Store, that have been tested for contaminants will save the lives of drug users.

He said: “I lost my brother a couple of months ago on Hastings. He went down there to score and never made it back home.

“Everyday I’m not open, more people die. I can’t open fast enough.”

He said he’ll keep the costs of the drugs the same as or slightly higher than street prices so as to not undercut local dealers, which could be dangerous.

“I’ve already got myself some bulletproof vests,” he said, adding that he’ll also have bulletproof glass and security onsite.

Jerry said he will only sell to people 18 and older, and part of the plan “is that when they go to buy something, we’re going to give some education on how to quit”.

Asked if he’s worried about being arrested, he said, “That’s the whole idea.”

Along with lawyer Paul Lewin, Jerry wants to launch a constitutional challenge if he gets criminally charged.

“If Mr. Martin is charged with selling controlled substances, it is his intention to challenge the constitutionality of those laws,” his lawyer said.

Martin’s willingness to risk arrest to provide a safe supply of drugs comes from personal experience.

He was introduced to drugs at age 14 and was an alcoholic and injection cocaine user by 15. He then spent 15 years unhoused.

Martin said he needs at least $50,000 (£30,750) to $100,000 (£61,500) to start the business—or a minimum of $500,000 (£375,000)if he needs to buy a space, which he’s hoping to avoid doing by renting.

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