Article by Colin Dacre, Castanet
Former Penticton pot shop owner and two-time mayoral candidate Jukka Laurio is taking his case to trial in the B.C. Supreme Court.
Laurio appeared in court Tuesday to plead not guilty to one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking in relation to the May 2018 police raid on his cannabis store in OK Falls. He elected for a judge-alone Supreme Court trial.
“There is a story to be told. A social and political story that involves more than marijuana,” Laurio said outside the courthouse.
“I was happy before the shop opened. I was very happy. I had a good life. I followed the directions, indications of other individuals that are supposed to be important and I trashed my life.”
Laurio operated an illegal cannabis store in Penticton between 2015 and 2017, in constant conflict with the city, eventually reaching an agreement to pay $15,000 in bylaw penalties and close down.
He moved his store to Okanagan Falls, where it operated under the same name until police moved in, seized more than 100 pounds of cannabis and arrested Laurio.
Laurio said he doesn’t regret opening the Penticton store back in 2015 and “making a political stand” for legal cannabis, but admitted he was surprised when the police got involved and he was charged.