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More Richmond candidates support pot stores

All but one of the incumbent candidates oppose cannabis retail in Richmond.
Jars of cannabis strains sit on a shelf. | Rob Kruyt

More Richmond city council candidates have come out in support of cannabis retail in the city.

Thirteen out of 30 councillor candidates said they’d support brick-and-mortar weed stores in a Richmond News election questionnaire. Roy Sakata, one of six mayoral candidates, also said he’d allow pot shops.  

Sakata would allow government-run stores for recreational cannabis, similar to BC Liquor, right away. He’d want to wait at least two years post-legalization before accepting applications for privately owned stores.

Council candidates who said they’d support cannabis retail were: Andy Chiang, Dennis Page, Kelly Greene, Andy Hobbs, incumbent Alexa Loo, John Roston, Judie Schneider, Niti Sharma, Kerry Starchuk, Jason Tarnow Jack Trovato, Henry Yao and Zhe Zhang.

Several said their support comes with conditions.

Greene said she wants to regulate retail stores, making sure they’re not open too late and aren’t too close to schools. Trovato also wants to “strongly advocate” for the same types of municipal controls on cannabis as there are on alcohol. Sharma wants to make sure there’s education targeted at kids and families on the effects of pot use.

“I personally do not support marijuana use for recreation,” Starchuk said, but she acknowledged there are will be business opportunities for many after legalization.

Tarnow, a lawyer, was the first candidate to publicly throw his support behind cannabis retail, saying Richmond would miss out a sizeable chunk of tax revenue by saying no. 

Dennis Page also told theRichmond News that supporting pot stores could be a boon for the city. He said cannabis companies could create jobs for Richmondites in everything from retail to design to business.  

Physical weed boutiques have gotten a decidedly frosty reception from current council, and no retail stores are currently allowed in the city.

All incumbent councillors besides Loo said they do not support cannabis retail in Richmond. Incumbent mayor Malcolm Brodie also opposes it.