As we wait to see how the federal government moves forward with its plans to decriminalize marijuana in Canada, some dispensaries in a south Okanagan city have been granted temporary permits.
At a public hearing Tuesday night, Penticton’s mayor and council approved two out of the seven applicants that were hoping to get temporary use permits for pot dispensaries.
“Both were very professional in the way they conducted business in their business model and really, in our view, we are focused on the medicinal marijuana use,” Penticton mayor Andrew Jakubeit said.
The six-month licenses were granted to Green Essence Head Shop Inc. and Okanagan Cannabinoid Therapy. With one councilor missing, and an initial tie vote, it was councilor Judy Sentes that put the motion back on the floor and changed her mind, voting in favour.
“When it was evident it was going to a stalemate, at that point I couldn’t in my conscience, I couldn’t let that happen,” Sentes said.
“It’s not about addiction; this is about medical marijuana use.”
Some of the applicants looking to get a temporary permit to operate a pot dispensary were already open, doing business without a permit.
One of them had shut down and wasn’t approved because it was too close to Carmi Elementary School.
One that wasn’t approved is owned by Jukka Laurio, who feels the city is singling him out.
“I’ve been cooperating with them for the last month,” Laurio said.
“I thought my struggle was over, I thought it was done and I could have relaxed a bit and done something else.”
Jakubeit said Laurio, who owns Herbal Green Apothecary, was the only applicant not present at Tuesday’s public hearing to put forward his case.
Some of the conditions associated with the permits include not allowing anyone under the age of 21 inside the shop and getting a business license, which comes with a fee of $5,000.