Pubdate: Fri, 12 Aug 2016
Source: Daily Courier, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Joe Fries
Page: A2


Medical marijuana dispensary in Penticton so far has been fined
$1,000, which owner sees as price of making point

Fines totalling $1,000 have so far failed to persuade the operator of
a medical marijuana dispensary in Penticton to give up on the business
of bud, which another South Okanagan community has now banned outright.

"It's business as usual. People are coming by. Everybody's so happy
that things are back to normal," said Jukka Laurio, owner of the Rush
In and Finish Cafe on Westminster Avenue.

City bylaw officers started off with two weekly fines of $250 before
moving to a $500 weekly penalty for operating without a business
licence, the cancellation of which was confirmed by council following
an appeal hearing July 19.

Laurio said he paid the first fine, but is now discussing with his
lawyer what to do about the others and more that will come in the
future, all of which he views as a cost of business and the price of
making a point.

"It's all about the people that are coming to the shop, and without
their support and without their buying stuff, I wouldn't be able to
pay the fines," Laurio explained.

Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said the city is considering
ratcheting up its enforcement efforts by fining Laurio on a daily basis.

"We can't have businesses stick their finger up at us and not have any
consequences," he said.

However, council is also walking a fine line in what has become the
decidedly grey area of medical marijuana policy; the federal
government is expected later this month to issue revised regulations
around medical users' access to cannabis.

Jakubeit said the city's plans for dealing with the Rush In and Finish
Cafe will be further clarified in September after council receives a
report from staff outlining how other communities have dealt with the

"At that time, we'll figure out how we want to proceed," the mayor

Two other marijuana dispensaries in Penticton that also had their
business licences suspended are expected to appear before council
Monday night for their own appeal hearings.

Meanwhile, local politicians in Osoyoos on Tuesday approved by a 3-2
vote a bylaw that imposes an outright ban on pot shops in that community.

"The rezoning and not issuing of business licences to storefront
operations was recommended by our staff and by our lawyers," Mayor Sue
McKortoff said in a statement.

"We will deal with the issue further when the federal government
changes the laws. (Marijuana) is illegal at this point."

Couns. Mike Campol and CJ Rhodes were the dissenting votes.
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