Cops grilled on pot shops

Colton Davies

The RDOS is concerned that an illegal marijuana dispensary is continuing to operate in Okanagan Falls, nearly two months after it moved out of Penticton.

Staff and board members brought that concern to South Okanagan detachment commander RCMP Supt. Ted De Jager on Thursday during the board's meetings.

“In my understanding that’s still illegal but there doesn’t seem to be enforcement. Is that now curtailed until the new legislation comes in? We’re just not interested in that?” CAO Bill Newell asked.

“I’m interested,” De Jager responded. “The timing of legalization doesn’t really have an effect on the police’s view. It really has a lot to do with the complaints that we get to target those areas.”

The dispensary in question, Herbal Green Apothecary, moved to Main Street in OK Falls after a long-running dispute with the City of Penticton.

De Jager said at the time the facility “could be subject to RCMP enforcement,” but no action has been taken.

“I’m not being cryptic here, but if I was operating an illegal dispensary in this day and age I would be looking at a different business model,” De Jager told the board.

“Whether it’s a  — so called — medicinal marijuana operation, or a retail sales operation, I’d like to feel like the police are going to come and shut them down,” Area D director Tom Siddon said.

De Jager pointed out a dispensary in Cawston was shut down in January after police executed a search warrant, and RCMP are now seeking charges against the business.

He didn’t say whether or not police were in the process of planning on doing the same thing for Herbal Green Apothecary, but he said until federal legislation is implemented, “those dispensaries like in Okanagan Falls will remain illegal and will be targeted as such.”

Unlike staff in incorporated municipalities, regional district staff aren't able to issue business licenses — meaning in a rural place like OK Falls, they have no authority to stop a marijuana dispensary from operating.

In January, the RDOS began to look into trying to gain authority to issue business licenses to control where recreational cannabis is sold. 


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More Penticton News

Recent Trending


Send us your News Tips!

Okanagan Oldies

Penticton SPCA Featured Pet

Cash Penticton SPCA >


Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada