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Chris Gayford is a self-professed adrenaline junkie who’s used to skydiving and snowboarding off cliffs, but the “most intense” moment of his life came Friday afternoon at City Hall.
The owner of Mary Jane’s Headquarters sat in Council Chambers with a large group of prospective retail cannabis applicants and lawyers for a round of lottery draws to determine which applications will proceed to council.
“I was up against only one competitor, I had number five and he had number 18,” explained Gayford.
“They span this metal cage holding the numbers and the first number to come out was five so I was claimed the victor.”
The results mean Gayford’s retail cannabis store Cheeba Cheeba’s, located beside Mary Jane's Headquarters, will now proceed to city council and undergo a rezoning application.
Cheeba Cheeba’s is one of 15 applications that received the opportunity to do so.
“We worked on our application for a very long time and spent nearly $60,000 on the process,” said Gayford.
“For all that to come down to a lottery… I can’t describe how intense that was.”
It’s not a foregone conclusion that Cheeba Cheeba’s will be one of the first recreational cannabis stores in Kelowna, but Gayford is confident about his rezoning application.
“I’ve been a member of the Kelowna business community for 20 years, but I also have extensive knowledge of the cannabis industry, which I believe will be noticeable at Cheeba Cheeba's,” said Gayford.
Each application was scored on a matrix between zero and a hundred, on which Cheeba Cheeba’s scored 74.
“They wanted a business plan, a neighbourhood strategy outlining how we minimize the foreseeable impact of a cannabis store, they wanted to see how far away you were from sensitive businesses, there's an addiction counselling centre nearby so that hurt our score,” explained Gayford.
“Lawyers have watched over the entire process and I believe the city is going about it in the fairest way.”
On Friday, the City of Kelowna announced 15 retail cannabis applicants out of the 36 total applications will be moving forward.
Watch KelownaNow visit Mary Jane's Headquarters and speak with Chris about the application process.