Pubdate: Wed, 26 Apr 2017
Source: Penticton Herald (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Joe Fries
Page: A1


Herbal Green Apothecary remains in operation despite fines, not having
business licence

City officials have turned to the courts for help shutting down a
Penticton marijuana dispensary. A petition was filed Monday in B.C.
Supreme Court to seek a sweeping order to close Herbal Green
Apothecary and ban owner Jukka Laurio from even possessing marijuana
anywhere in Penticton.

"It's kind of heavy-handed. They're wasting time and money. I have no
signs up, there's no advertising," Laurio said Tuesday.

Laurio, who accused the city of trying to "play God," suggested the
legal effort is too little, too late with federal decriminalization of
marijuana coming as early as next year. He also said he has "formally"
closed the dispensary - although The Herald was able to purchase a
special brownie Tuesday - and is giving up his lease on the
Westminster Avenue building.

The petition's legal basis rests on the fact Laurio is operating
without a business licence, which was suspended in March following an
investigation by city staff that determined marijuana products -
rather than the "food and nutrition" items he was permitted to offer
- --were being sold on the premises.

Besides putting Laurio out of business, the city's proposed order
would also reimburse the local government's legal costs and allow a
peace officer to "arrest any person who that officer has reasonable
and probable grounds to believe is knowingly violating this order."

City spokesman Mark Parker said in a statement Tuesday the petition is
expected to be heard June 5.

"Herbal Greens has continued to operate despite being fined, and the
city is now pursuing alternative enforcement measures," he added.

Two other marijuana shops, Okanagan Cannaboid Therapy and Green
Essence Dispensary, continue to operate openly in Penticton with the
blessing of city council, which granted them temporary-use permits in

Despite those permits, the Penticton RCMP in March sent letters to
those two businesses - and Laurio's - threatening to shut them down.

The detachment declined comment Tuesday on whether it intends to act
on the threat, citing an ongoing investigation. It also declined
comment on the city's petition because it's not directly involved with
the matter.
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MAP posted-by: Matt