A controversial marijuana dispensary is packing up it’s old location in Penticton and moved to a new joint in Okanagan Falls.
Herbal Green Apothecary opened on Main Street in Okanagan Falls on Jan. 11.
Owner Jukka Laurio, said the Penticton store will close Jan. 20.
“The response is all positive, well probably some are not. But people approach us and tell us they are happy we are here. Adjacent business owners, local people, looky-loos are all coming in. We even got a card from someone welcoming us here,” he said in a telephone interview with the Penticton Western News Wednesday.
Laurio said since the soft opening of the new location last Thursday (Jan. 11) at least two to three new clients come in and sign up everyday.
“We have 3,900 people on our client list,” he said. “A good portion of people are coming in and saying they are finding it more convenient. They’re coming from Osoyoos, OK Falls, Oliver.”
Laurio said the store’s eight staff, six full-time and two part-time, are now working at the OK Falls location.
He has plans to expand the product lines offered to include shampoos, conditioners, bath bombs in addition to the current medical marijuana products he offers.
“It’s a nicer shop. I can actually open up the shop that I wanted to open,” he said.
Laurio said the city’s push for him to apply for a wellness centre business licence that would allow him to sell marijuana accessories but not cannabis products was why he decided to move his business to OK Falls now.
Laurio and the city both have launched legal action against the other. Laurio has about $30,000 in outstanding fines with the city for operating Herbal Green Apothecary without proper licensing in place.
Now that he is moved his business out of Penticton he hopes the city will drop legal proceedings and erase the fines against him.
“All the legal stuff hasn’t changed, but most of it has become irrelevant,” he said. “I think we should both holster our weapons and go our own ways.”
As part of the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen, businesses do not have to apply for a business licence to operate in OK Falls, but only adhere to zoning requirements. There is nothing currently in RDOS bylaws disallowing marijuana dispensaries.
As per the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act the selling of marijuana is illegal, but other marijuana dispensaries are currently operating including one in Cawston called Amber Light Compassion Society.
The Cawston store has been in operation since October 2016.