Saskatoon

Lawyer, Fat Badger restaurateur, business student all chosen for Saskatoon pot shops

"My mind is racing in a million directions," says 23-year-old Cierra Sieben-Chuback.

SLGA also chose 2 runner-ups per permit in case original choices don't work out

Regina lawyer Daniel P. Kwochka is among those who have been chosen to potentially open one of seven cannabis retail stores in Saskatoon. (Daniel P. Kwochka)

A lawyer, the owner of Regina's Fat Badger pub and a 23-year-old business school student are among those chosen to  open one of Saskatoon's seven future pot shops.

The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority and the provincial government announced Friday who was awarded the right to get one of the 51 permits in the province for a cannabis retail store.

Daniel P. Kwochka, a partner at McKercher LLP Barristers and Solicitors, learned Wednesday that he and a minority partner, Aaron Murray, had made the list for Saskatoon.

Murray is a business consultant and owner of The Fat Badger pub.

"It's certainly good news for us," said Kwochka. "I want to congratulate all the successful proponents. It's my hope that all of us can have a good working relationship as well for the good of the industry."

The other Saskatoon winners are:

  • Aura Cannabis Inc. and Andrew Gordon, B.C. based business retailers.
  • Chris DeCock, an Alberta and Saskatchewan business operator.

  • Geoff Conn, Jason Bremner, Stephen Haynes, Michelle Bartsch and Roberta Bremner, Alberta and Saskatchewan based entrepreneurs.

  • Geofrey Schneider, Tyler Van Alstine, Mason Theaker, Deborah Wright and David Wright, Regina business operators.

  • Vince Hui Lee, an Alberta entrepreneur.

12 months to open

Kwochka and the others that made the list still have to go through a process to get a permit.

"As a condition of their permit, retail cannabis permittees must be operating within 12 months of legalization," according to a Saskatchewan government release.

Kwochka, who won't disclose which two areas of Saskatoon he's considering for his location, said that gives him "lots of time," he said.

Application recalled '1980s stereo instructions' 

Tracey Grand'Maison, one of the unsuccessful Saskatoon applicants, said the SLGA should give others a crack at a permit if one of those chosen doesn't open up their shop within that time frame.

"No flexibility at all," she said. "They weren't flexible with anything along the whole regime and it shouldn't be now."

SLGA said it established a "runner-up list of two proponents per available permit, to be used only if the initial proponent selected is not eligible for a cannabis permit or if the successful proponent withdraws from the process," said David Morris, a spokesperson for SLGA.

Grand'Maison, the owner of Pic-Man Tattoo & Herb Man Hydroponics, compared the application form she had to fill out to make it into the lottery to "1980s stereo instructions."

"It was ridiculous to work though," she said, "but obviously we went through OK because our name did make it to the hat."

Living Skies Cannabis

Cierra Sieben-Chuback made it onto the final list of winners.

Sieben-Chuback, 23, graduates from Saskatoon's Edwards School of Business next week. She'll be a first-time business owner.

"My mind is racing in a million directions," Sieben-Chuback said. 

She chose not to disclose the areas where she might locate her shop, but said her dispensary will be called Living Skies Cannabis.

About the Author

Guy Quenneville

Reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatoon

Story tips, ideas, complaints, just want to say 'Hi'? Write me at guy.quenneville@cbc.ca