Jukka Laurio looks over some of the remaining stock of buds in the members lounge of his Herbal Green marijuana dispensary on Westminster Avenue on his final day of sales Wednesday. Earlier this month RCMP ordered local dispensaries to cease operations. Mark Brett/Western News

South Okanagan cannabis dispensary operator that was raided is going to trial

Store operator is facing one charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking

A former cannabis dispensary operator and Penticton mayoral candidate is taking his possession for the purpose of trafficking charge to trial.

“The last stand of the last soldier I guess, I don’t know. There is a story to be told, a social-political story that involves more than marijuana … I want the rest of the story to come out,” said Jukka Laurio, outside of the courthouse on Tuesday after letting the court know he wants to face a judge alone trial.

Laurio was charged after his dispensary, that was allegedly operating illegally in Okanagan Falls, was raided last May.

READ MORE: RCMP raid Okanagan Falls dispensary

The raid at Herbal Green Apothecary in Okanagan Falls was a result of an investigation where RCMP had stopped two people leaving the premises.

In one instance the RCMP seized a cardboard box containing an eighth of an ounce of cannabis from a woman. She told the police she did not have a prescription or licence to possess. A second person stopped had a sealed box with “Herbal Green Apothecary” on one of the seals and it contained 22 grams of marijuana. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

READ MORE: Penticton pot store moved to Okanagan Falls

The Western News learned that 100 pounds of cannabis and edibles were seized from Herbal Green. Police also seized containers of vaporizer refills and THC-infused honey, balms, creams, perfume, membership cards and other items.

Prior to opening the store in Okanagan Falls, Laurio had been running an illegal dispensary in Penticton but closed after a two-year battle with the City of Penticton for not having a proper business licence. A court decision ordered Laurio to pay $15,000 in fines to the City of Penticton and to cease any cannabis sales.

Laurio said if he is found not guilty of the charges he will pursue opening a legal store.

“Of course, it’s a retail store. What the hell, if I had a chance to open a bar I would even though I don’t drink. I am a businessman. If I can open a business, I will open a business,” he said.

The storefront in Okanagan Falls has now been leased by Laurio to someone else who is running a small gym.

Laurio’s criminal record includes 10 convictions — three for possession of a narcotic and one for trafficking in narcotics in the 1970s; one for cultivation of narcotic in 1997, one for sexual assault. As well, in 2004, he had one each for trafficking in scheduled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking.

Laurio is scheduled to be back in court on June 10 to fix a date for the trial.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

North Okanagan mayor’s win benefits school lunch programs

Christine Fraser of Spallumcheen won $1,500 in SILGA draw, which goes to not-for-profit programs

Vernon Vipers name Connor Marritt captain

Takes over from graduating veteran, and fellow Okanagan native, Jagger Williamson

Vernon pitcher tosses second no-hitter of season

Jarod Leroux has two no-nos in his last three starts for the BCPBL’s Okanagan Athletics

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Heat, sun and a chance of thunderstorms for Father’s Day

Morning pancake breakfasts and fishing derbies across the region will see sun, showers may follow.

The annual event takes place Sunday, June 23 at Creekside Park in Coldstream

Pre-registrations, sponsorships and donations for the CMHA annual Ride Don’t Hide event… Continue reading

VIDEO: Horseback riding helps North Okanagan residents with special needs

North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association needs more volunteers to continue offering sessions

Thunderstorm leaves small fire in the Shuswap in its wake

Wildfire crews are also fighting a small fire near Kamloops

South Okanagan pharmacy restricted from dispensing opioid treatment drugs

B.C. College of Pharmacists alleges Sunrise Pharmacy dispensed treatment drugs against rules

Police seek two suspects and car after stabbing in Kelowna

The stabbing took place on Friday evening on Wilson Avenue. It sent one man to hospital.

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Summerland Health Care Auxiliary completes hospital donation pledge early

$1M contribution to medical equipment campaign completed half a year earlier than expected

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Summerland ready for dry summer conditions

Province has declared Level Two drought, but Summerland has not increased watering restrictions

Summerland pioneers had connection to Middlesex, England

Harry Dunsdon and Richard Turner became cattlemen

Most Read