'Nerve-wracking' pot lottery

One of the five applicants for the coveted Kelowna cannabis retail zoning who was chosen to move forward during a lottery process Friday said it was a very nerve-wracking experience.

The city picked 10 applicants to move forward with the rezoning for cannabis sales earlier this week, after spending two months scoring the 36 applications they received.

On Friday, several other applicants whose scores were within five per cent of another applicant within 500 metres, went through a lottery process.

Chris Gayford, who's owned the Mary Jane's Headquarters headshops in Rutland and West Kelowna for the past seven years, was one of the applicants subjected to the lottery system Friday.

He's applied to open Cheeba Cheeba, a recreational cannabis store, two doors down from the Rutland Mary Jane's location.

The lottery consisted of little wooden balls with numbers on them, and each lottery was chosen “bingo style.”

After countless hours of preparing his application over the past year, his business was left in the hands of fate. His number was chosen.

“It was extremely emotional,” said Gayford. “Financially, I've put a lot into it, but beyond finances, the amount of effort that went into making an application was a lot. I started renting the space about a year ago.”

Gayford says he's not much of a gambler.

“I'm not a gambling man because my heart can't take it,” he said laughing. “I don't like the feeling ... it was an extremely intense situation.”

Moving forward, Gayford will now follow the standard rezoning process, and must present to council, probably some time next month. He will also need to get approval from the province.

“There's a lot of hurdles ahead for myself and all of the other people going through the process.”

If all goes well, he hopes to have his doors open within three or four months.

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