West Kelowna’s Mary Jane’s could soon transition from apparel to recreational cannabis retailer. Photo: FaceBook

Work not close to done for West Kelowna pot shop application

Mary Jane’s Headquarters application was approved by council in late March

The work to transition into a recreation marijuana retailer continues for West Kelowna’s Mary Jane Headquarters owner Chris Gayford.

After a rollercoaster application process with the City of West Kelowna, Gayford’s application to city council was approved in late March, potentially allowing him to become the city’s fifth legal pot retailer. But the process is far from over.

“I tell people hold on to the graduations, I’m not there yet,” said Gayford. “I still have a way to go, but now, I get to go through the process.

READ MORE: West Kelowna approves 5 cannabis store applications

READ MORE: Cannabis shops in Kelowna inching closer to reality

Gayford’s initial application of transitioning his West Kelowna Mary Jane’s from an apparel and accessories store into a recreation marijuana retailer, wasn’t approved by West Kelowna council. Council had put Mary Jane’s on an on-hold list, and would be considered for approval if one of the other applicants backed out.

Council heard out Gayford’s plea that suggested they reconsider, as Mary Jane’s had been a long standing legal business in West Kelowna for seven years.

“It was my integrity as a business person in West Kelowna; I didn’t bend my morals based on what other people were doing when illegal cannabis stores were opening,” said Gayford.

And though council approved Gayford’s application, the process continues with first and second readings scheduled at council, along with a public hearing.

READ MORE: Forestry, recreation squeezed by B.C. caribou recovery strategy

After the city’s deliberations, West Kelowna council will put forward a positive recommendation for Gayford to the provincial government. From there, the provincial process will determine if Gayford’s business is a good candidate.

“The goal is to make sure the candidates aren’t criminals. There’s a security screen, and (they check) financial integrity. They go through great lengths to make sure legal recreation stays legal,” he said.

Gayford’s 20 year work experience, along with contact information will be a determining factor. As well as what kind of security measures are in place, how many tills, etc. at his business.

Once approval is given from B.C., a license is given, and Cheeba Cheeba will be introduced.

Cheeba Cheeba will be the new name of Mary Jane’s if all goes according to Gayford’s plans.

“It’s an old school name, and we wanted to differentiate ourselves, and the name puts a smile on your face.”

READ MORE: Cannabis prices up 17.3% post-legalization

There were 10 applications for recreation pot shops in West Kelowna, and only five were selected, including Gayford’s. Though congratulations aren’t due yet, Gayford is happy about the progression.

“There’s no reason the province, or the city should turn me down, I’m very positive at this point, because the biggest hurdles are behind me.”

“I think cannabis stores bring in good foot traffic, and the more traffic a (West Kelowna) business community can garner, the more the community benefits. Having the business evolve into a cannabis store is ideal,” said Gayford.

The entire West Kelowna legal recreational marijuana issue will return to council at a later date, before recommendations are sent to the province.

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