Published: 2023-01-14 18:20
Last Updated: 2023-02-04 12:56
A Vancouver man is currently planning to open Canada’s first ever store that sells heroin, cocaine, meth, MDMA, and other drugs in a move that is characterized as a way to reduce the rising number of overdose deaths.
This came after it was announced that Canadians over the age of 17 will be allowed to possess small amounts of certain illegal drugs starting Jan. 31, 2023.
“Adults in [British Columbia] will not be subject to criminal charges for the personal possession of small amounts of certain illegal drugs starting January 31, 2023,” said the official website of the Government of British Columbia (B.C.), adding: “Health Canada has granted an exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to the Province of B.C. until January 31, 2026.”
Jerry Martin, 51, whose brother died of an overdose a few months ago, wants to open ‘The Drugs Store’ by the end of January, will only sell up to 2.5 grams to each person and will keep the price similar to street prices so as not to undercut local dealers which could be dangerous.
Martin also said: “Part of my plan is that when they go to buy something, we’re going to give some education on how to quit.”
“The Drugs Store will provide customers with reliable access to safe tested drugs, harm reduction supplies such as unused sterile needles, pipes, etc., and educational information,” he added.
Although British Columbia decriminalized the possession of drugs, the selling of the drugs remains illegal. Therefore, Martin said that if he were arrested, “he would allege that laws that prevent a safe supply and result in death by poisoning contravene section seven of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and must be struck down,” his lawyer, Paul Lewin, said.
Section seven of the charter states that Canadians have “the right to life, liberty, and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.” Section seven challenges were used to successfully strike down laws that prohibited medical cannabis in Canada, according to VICE News.
The reason behind the decriminalization was that this is a “critical step in B.C.’s fight against the toxic drug crisis” as this will help “reduce the barriers and stigma that prevent people from accessing life-saving supports and services. Substance use is a public health matter, not a criminal justice issue.”
However, adults are not allowed to possess “over 2.5 grams of these illegal drugs” or “any amount of other illegal drugs not included in the exemption.”