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City of Richmond warms up to recreational pot sales

A woman exhales while smoking a joint during the annual 420 marijuana rally on Parliament hill on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 in Ottawa.
A woman exhales while smoking a joint during the annual 420 marijuana rally on Parliament hill on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 in Ottawa. Justin Tang/CP

The City of Richmond is warming up to the idea of recreational pot shops.

Back in October, Richmond city council penned a letter to the federal and provincial governments asking them to press pause on the cannabis legalization process.

The federal government aims to have marijuana legalized by July 2018.

READ MORE: B.C. Government unveils how cannabis will be sold once legalized

At the time, Richmond Mayor Malcom Brodie said he did not want to see the product being sold in Richmond.

“We oppose the legalization of non-medical uses of marijuana in our city,” Brodie said in October.

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But on Friday, Brodie signaled a change of heart, suggesting recreational pot sales are inevitable.

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“I would say we are realistic. [It] certainly sounds like it is a phenomena that is upon us,” he said.

“We want to have close control of the situation, have products sold under controlled circumstances in areas that are controlled. I can tell you that the approach taken by certain cities is not going to be acceptable as far as Richmond is concerned.”

READ MORE: B.C.’s liquor stores want control of recreational pot sales, but not everyone’s on board

But despite accepting that cannabis will be sold in his city, Brodie remains critical of the federal and provincial governments, saying that July is too soon to legalize pot.

“What’s the old expression, measure twice and cut once? Let’s get all the details right,” he said.

WATCH: Province releases early plans for legalized marijuana

Province releases early plans for legalized marijuana
Province releases early plans for legalized marijuana

The province said recreational marijuana will be available for sale at private and public retail outlets, however other details of the program remain unclear.

Richmond isn’t the only city to voice concerns about becoming home to legal pot shops.

On Friday, Gimli, Man. became the first community in that province to pass a resolution saying no to cannabis stores.

READ MORE: B.C. launches public consultations on pot legalization

The Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill has also passed a motion telling provincial politicians it is “not a willing host of a cannabis retail location.”

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The Ontario provincial government, which will control all retail pot sales through its equivalent of the Liquor Distribution Branch, has said if a municipality is not ready to host a pot shop, “the province will defer locating in that municipality.”

-With files form Kerri Breen and Brittany Greenslade

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