Pubdate: Wed, 08 Feb 2017
Source: Penticton Western (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Penticton Western
Author: Steve Kidd


Last year, Penticton city council took some bold steps to deal with
the growing problem of medical marijuana dispensaries opening in the
city, culminating in the issuance of temporary use permits as an
interim measure.

If they expected that would prevent them from having to deal with the
problem again, before the expected legalization of marijuana sales is
passed by the federal government later this year, they were mistaken.

Only two permits were issued, and another five applicants were
refused. Not receiving a permit didn't stop Okanagan Cannabis
Solutions, which opened their Main Street location on Jan. 16, or
Jukka Laurio, who applied to the city - and was refused - for
non-profit status for his Association for Medical Marijuana Awareness.
He continues to operate Herbal Green dispensary despite the lack of a
permit, and ongoing fines.

Some have stepped aside and are laying low until the federal
government comes forward with newrules, Jakubeit said, but others are
willing to "roll the dice and take their chances."

"It is difficult to have a relationship with an entity that has been
thumbing their nose at the city,"said Jakubeit, adding that there will
probably be more requests than whatever number of dispensaries the
city decides to allow.

"You would think it would be in their best interest to try to work
with the city and the community,"said Jakubeit.

Laurio, who asked for an appeal to council of the refusal of his
non-profit registration, didn't show upon Tuesday afternoon to
represent himself.

City staff had a number of concerns about his non-profit application,
including that the society would only be reachable through the illegal
Herbal Greens operation, and issuing the registration would give the
appearance that the City has approved all activities currently taking
place on these premises.

Council unanimously endorsed the denial of Laurio's application after
a short discussion about procedure.

In terms of Okanagan Cannabis Solutions, Jakubeit said the city laid out 
its plans in early January:weekly fines progressing to daily, then 
injunctive action.

"We do have to enforce our bylaws. Sometimes it is a slower process,
but there is a process and we are going through it," said Jakubeit.

Anthony Haddad, director of development services, said the city is
actively enforcing and fining the operator, and expects to be coming
to council in the next month to continue the process to injunctive
action. Ken Kunka building and permitting manager, said OCS had
applied for and also been refused non-profit registration.

Council also received a letter from a business neighbouring the OCS
location. McNaughton Support Services has contracts with Community
Living B.C. and the Ministry of Children and Family Development to
operate both adult programs and after school youth programs for
individuals with developmental disabilities.

Warren McNaughton says the neighbourhood around his business has
deteriorated over the past few years, with needles found in the
parking lot, prostitution and people using the alcove at the rear
entrance for sleeping and injecting drugs. The medical marijuana
dispensary adds another concern.

"We were relieved when we heard that city council had not issued a
license for this dispensary but see that it is now open in spite of
this. This has serious implications for our business, especially with
the youth program if families make the decision to not allow the youth
to attend," wrote McNaughton. "We have made every attempt to follow
the rules in operating our agency and cannot understand why a
business, especially of this nature, is being allowed to open without
following these same rules."
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