Penticton pot shop bows to RCMP pressure, closes

Penticton pot shop bows to RCMP pressure, closes

Penticton’s first marijuana dispensary is bowing to pressure from the RCMP more than one year after it first opened its doors on Martin St.

Last week the pot shop along with two others received a warning letter from the Mounties to cease operations or face arrest.

Jukka Laurio, who owns Herbal Green Apothecary, said he’s following orders.

“I’d have to be arguing with the city and also arguing with the RCMP, the federal authorities and fighting a battle on two fronts is never really a good idea. At a certain point you realize your enemies are too large, too great and you’ve got to back off,” he said.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said in an interview with Global News last week that he was caught-off guard by the RCMP’s sudden interest in dispensaries.

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City Hall decided to regulate pot shops after they started growing like weeds.

“I am a little surprised that it’s happening now when there is other issues in the city that they should be focusing on versus six months ago or nine months ago when it was a bigger issue and just starting to gain momentum. I think that would have been helpful to have enforcement back then.”

Laurio said his 3,000 customers are “outraged” and will be forced to look elsewhere.

“They started their own petition, they wanted to sign something, they got 200 signatures in two hours,” he said.

The other two marijuana dispensaries in town, Green Essence and Okanagan Cannibinoid Therapy, continue to operate.

They both hold temporary operating permits issued by the city.

The RCMP has said the city’s initiatives carry no weight on their decision to take enforcement action.

Laurio said if police officers don’t move in and shut down his competitors, he could re-open at some point in the future.