Pot shop owner to pay $15K

A former Penticton dispensary owner has agreed to pay the city $15,000 in penalties for operating a retail cannabis storefront on Westminster Avenue from 2015 to 2017.

Jukka Laurio agreed to pay the fine in B.C. Supreme Court Monday in Kelowna, in what the City of Penticton is calling the largest fine against a dispensary operator ever in B.C.

As a part of the consent court order, Laurio has also agreed to drop his lawsuits against the city and comply with all city bylaws and provincial laws in not selling cannabis in Penticton.

If the $15,000 is not paid by November 15, 2018, Laurio will be required to pay the full $30,500 in penalties originally issued by the city.

The other two marijuana dispensaries previously operating in Penticton have also signed court orders — without fines — promising not to sell cannabis.

“Council instructed bylaw services to treat all dispensaries equally under the law and we have been able to do so with three court orders on three dispensaries,” bylaw services manager Tina Seibert said.

“Herbal Green was more punitive because there were two outstanding legal actions filed in the Penticton and Kelowna registries.”

City lawyer Troy DeSouza says the settlement avoids a court date scheduled for later this week on one of Laurio's lawsuits against the city.

Laurio moved his dispensary, Herbal Green Apothecary, to Okanagan Falls in January to avoid the city’s regulations. It was vandalized shortly after opening.

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