Mary Jane's pot licences

After serving Kelowna's cannabis community before federal legalization last year at his head shops, the owner of Mary Jane's Headquarters will soon be selling legal marijuana in Kelowna and West Kelowna.

After securing approval from the City of Kelowna during a “nerve-wracking” lottery process last February, Chris Gayford has now secured provincial licences for two Cheeba Cheebas retail cannabis locations.

The Rutland location will be two doors down from the current Mary Jane's Headquarters, first opened in 2001, on Rutland Road South. The West Kelowna location will take over the current Mary Jane's, and it will move next door.

“Basically, I have three spaces that I need to build in the next month and a half,” Gayford said. “Renovations are in the works, it's kind of a process ... I've hired a big construction company to do all three of the jobs, so I'm anticipating opening my doors in approximately mid-November.”

Both Mary Jane's locations have sold cannabis paraphernalia for years, such as bongs, pipes, and grinders.

Currently, Hobo Cannabis on Springfield Road is the only licensed cannabis retail store operating in Kelowna. Prime Cannabis has been licensed in West Kelowna, but also doesn't expect to open until November.

Gayford says it's been a “long and hard battle” to secure his licences, and he was basically left in the dark until he received an “approval in principal” from the province a couple weeks ago, followed by the licences last week.

“There's so many layers at the provincial level. You talk to the person who gathers information, but they send the information upstream, so they don't have any answers for you,” he said.

Gayford is now hiring staff for the two new stores, a process that needs to be done well in advance to allow for applicants to go through the required security screening.

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