Kelowna has been without cannabis dispensaries for several months.
As the date for legalization approached last fall, the City of Kelowna began shutting down the illegal dispensaries one at a time.
But the city is moving forward on the dispensary front, giving preliminary approval to 15 locations — dispersed all over the city, including the downtown core.
One potential site that received preliminary approval is currently a French restaurant on St. Paul Street, owned by Jeff Holman.
He rents the place and says the dispensary applicants offered the landlord twice as much as what Holman is paying in rent, so he has to find another place, which he admits it’s not going to be easy.
“I was looking for another good spot downtown, but anything I look at has no parking,” Holman said.
Another candidate who made the list is Chris Gayford. He owns Mary Jane’s Headquarters on Rutland Road South in Kelowna. Because of nearby competition, his application moved forward through the lottery system.
“They were all assigned numbers, these little wooden balls. They put each lottery into a bingo machine, rolled it around and the first number to pop out was the winner,” Gayford said. “The winner being the business that got to move forward. Through the council process in rezoning first and yeah, my number popped out.”
Gayford and the other 14 candidates still have their work cut out for them. City council still has to approve their zoning application, which also requires provincial approval, but Gayford says he’s on a roll.
“You know what I did last night? I felt I had luck with me, so I went to the roulette table and threw $100 down on black. And I won!”
Kelowna hopes to have legalized cannabis shops operating within the city by late spring or early summer.