B.C.’s ‘largest’ dispensary fine levied against Penticton operator

City hall published court order online, which mandated a $15,000 fine payment to city hall

The City of Penticton has won a $15,000 fine and a court order against a controversial shop owner who ran a cannabis dispensary in town.

The court order puts a close to the saga, which ended with what the city said is the largest fine made against a dispensary in B.C. The city said it has reached a close on the files involving two other dispensaries, once permitted to operate in the city before council backtracked on its policy.

“Herbal Green was more punitive because there were two outstanding legal actions filed in the Penticton and Kelowna registries,” bylaw supervisor Tina Siebert said in a news release.

Related: Penticton pot store moved to Okanagan Falls

Jukka Laurio, his employees and agents were ordered by Justice Wendy Baker not to operate the Herbal Green dispensary, as well as the Rush In and Finish Cafe, where for some time the dispensary had been operating.

The court order on Tuesday, published online by the City of Penticton, also mandated Laurio not to operate any business in the city that contravenes the city hall’s Business Licence Bylaw or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

In particular, Baker ordered Laurio not to operate a store that involves cannabis or products related to cannabis, nor run any website or social media account that offers or sells cannabis products.

Related: Dispensary owner bows out of battle with city, closes dispensary

Laurio will also have to pay $15,000 to city hall, half of the $30,500 in fines he had been facing with the city.

In December 2016, Penticton city council voted to approve two temporary use permits, allowing two stores to operate dispensaries in Penticton for six months. That came after a lengthy process in which staff were ordered by council to look at possibilities for dispensaries to operate in Penticton.

The whole process had sparked when city staff took Laurio to council for a hearing regarding the Rush In and Finish Cafe, where Laurio was operating his dispensary.

But Laurio continued to operate his store while that process went on, despite council’s orders against it. As well, when Laurio’s store was not approved a temporary use permit to run his store in December 2016, he continued to operate, and was faced with increasing fines in early 2017.

That ultimately came to a head in the courts, and Laurio has since opened up the Herbal Green Apothecary in Okanagan Falls.

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