A Penticton dispensary has had its business license revoked after city council voted against the business at a special, two-hour long council meeting.

Rush In and Finish Cafe lost a 5–2 vote that saw mayor Andrew Jakubeit as one of the two in support of the shop.

Rush In and Finish Cafe operator Jukka Laurio had been operating a companion club out of the café and said he was offering a needed service to the town.

“In the last 15 months of operation, watching these people come in with their canes and their walkers and their … wheelchairs and afflictions, and, you know, it’s heartbreaking,” he said. “I’m here today for them. For their right to buy this medication.”

Laurio said in 2015 that most of his clients can the proper paperwork to access medication.

“We’re a professional business, just like any other business and we haven’t made any noise to attract [the RCMP’s] attention.”

The same meeting ended with Penticton council voting for city staff to return in two months with a report on potential dispensary regulations in the city.

Councillor Max Picton said he wasn’t comfortable approving the business license to Laurio.

“I think that we need to … review the cases that are happening across the province right now and come up with a set of regulations that will fit our community and then that framework can then be applied to businesses that are looking to operate in this sense,” said Max Picton.

Councillor Tarik Sayeed, who also voted in favour of Rush In and Finish Cafe keeping its license, said voting to revoke the business’s permit wouldn’t stop cannabis sales and wouldn’t help patients in the community.

“The problem is not going anywhere; the problem is right here,” he said, noting that there are four other dispensaries still open in the town.. “We need to find a way to regulate and help the businesses, help the medical patients while we try to find a solution.”

Laurio said, even after the vote, he has no plans to shut down his business with the mayor promising would result in action from the city of Penticton.

“One of the next steps is fines and then injunctive action,” Jakubeit said. “Your council made a decision, so now staff has to act on it.”

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