Pubdate: Fri, 30 Dec 2016
Source: Penticton Western (CN BC)
Copyright: 2016 Penticton Western
Author: Steve Kidd


Any medical marijuana dispensaries thinking about setting up shop in
Penticton before legalization and a regulation framework is in place
should rethink their plans.

"We've only authorized two temporary use permits, mainly so people
would have access to medical marijuana until more regulations come
into play," said Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit, adding that until
that happens, only those two dispensaries will be allowed.

"Any one who is operating without a business licence, we are going to
be coming down heavy with fines and/or injunctive action," said Jakubeit.

Early in December, council reviewed seven applications to operate
marijuana dispensaries under heavily-regulated temporary use permits,
approving two that had been operating previously and shown willingness
to work with the city.

Okanagan Cannabis Solutions was not one of the approved applicants,
but have recently begun putting up signage in a storefront at 575 Main

"Bylaw has sent them a letter saying you have to take your signs down
by Jan. 6," said Jakubeit. Groups that try to work around the city's
temporary regulations, he continued, may have a more difficult time
getting approval after legalization.

"If it is similar to the liquor licensing branch then all referrals
have to come through the city for endorsement," said Jakubeit. "When
it comes into fruition and you need councils support, if you've done
nothing, but defy what the city is doing, then you may not get that

Read more: City gives the nod to marijuana dispensaries

Jakubeit said there are likely to be many group waiting in the wings
who also see legalization as an opportunity.

"I am sure we are going to get lots of applications in there and there
is only going to be a limited number of openings and locations," said
Jakubeit, noting that Okanagan Cannabis Solutions has sent a letter to
council asking them to reconsider their application.

"At the moment, we're not reconsidering any of those temporary use
permits. We made a decision on two," said Jakubeit, who expects that
in six months there may be more of a framework from the federal
government and the city will revisit policies, bylaws and zoning,
which will be one of the city's main tools to control numbers and the
placement of dispensaries.

Jakubeit encourages all those who are interested in operating a
dispensary to comply and wait until the city is ready to take on more
under new policies.

Read more: Penticton nips dispensaries in the bud

He expects it will be a similar framework to the way liquor is
governed, with restrictions of how far apart they need to be, how
close they can be to schools and other factors.

Jukka Laurio, who operates Herbal Green Apothecary, another of the
applications council turned down for a permit, is trying a different
tack, wanting to set up a licenced medical marijuana production facility.

Jakubeit said there have been a few inquiries about establishing a
licensed grow facility under Health Canada guidelines. It would have
been classed as an industrial use, and the city would have been
receptive, he said, but none have followed through, possibly due to
the difficulty of obtaining the federal production license.

"Having accepted 'medical marijuana,' supporting its distribution
through a legally grey area of the law, acknowledging the community
need, the time has come for Penticton city council to do something
that is actually legal," wrote Laurio in a letter to city council.

According to Jakubeit, this is the first he has heard of Laurio's

"I think he alleges this has been in the works for a long period of
time. He has never made a formal application, so that is sort of news
to us," said Jakubeit, who isn't sure Laurio's plans are practical.

"I think he wants to do it in the same building, using a back room,"
said Jakubeit. "I am not sure you can have your production and your
retail in the same location."
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