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Penticton  

Dispensary owner sues city

The owner of an illegal marijuana dispensary in Penticton is asking the courts to order the City of Penticton to grant him a temporary license to operate, like it did for two of his competitors last year.

In a petition filed Friday in Kelowna, Jukka Laurio argues that city council let their personal bias, and Laurio’s history as a local marijuana advocate factor into their decision to turn him down for a permit to operate Herbal Green Apothecary on Dec. 6.

On that day council granted Okanagan Cannabinoid Therapy and Green Essence, two of the seven applications they received, six month temporary use permits. However, those permits have since expired.

“When the City decided to refuse Mr. Laurio a temporary use permit, the City acted outside the scope of its jurisdiction; acted unreasonably,” the petition states.

Laurio closed his business temporarily in response to a letter he and the other two shops received from the RCMP threatening arrest, but reopened around April 20.

Immediately after the reopening, the City of Penticton filed for an injunction against Laurio to force his shutdown, which appeared to have emboldened Laurio.

“If they are going to sit there and annoy me, I’ll open back up again, because I can run this through the courts until legalization. I don't have a problem with that,” Laurio told Castanet in April.

His petition goes on to state that the city is “conspicuously taking enforcement steps only against Laurio,” despite the fact that there are other dispensaries in the city operating without permits.

The court documents also claim that Laurio has never received a straight answer from the city explaining their rejection.

Laurio previously had two appeals in front of city council to argue for the license, one of which he did not show up for.

The City of Penticton declined to comment, pending legal advice. 

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