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City council shoots down request to reconsider Richmond cannabis store ban

The motion to refer to staff for further research was defeated by a tied vote
A stock image of a woman at a cannabis retail shop.

Richmond will remain one of the last Metro Vancouver municipalities to ban cannabis retailers, at least for now.

Steveston resident Karina Reid spoke to city council at Monday’s meeting advocating to overturn its current stance against retail outlets.

“Everyone in Richmond deserves to have equitable access to legal municipal cannabis,” said Reid.

She told council cannabis has been helpful for her mother-in-law in coping with pain from arthritis.

She explained community members either have to drive to neighbouring municipalities or have their orders delivered, which has an impact on the environment.

Richmond city council unanimously opposed marijuana legalization in 2017. Since the legalization of non-medical cannabis in 2018, the city has continued to ban the retail sale of cannabis within Richmond.

“The city will vigorously enforce its bylaws should any retail cannabis outlet attempt to operate within Richmond,” reads the city’s website.

Currently, residents who wish to purchase non-medical cannabis are allowed to do so from B.C.’s online distribution centre or licensed outlets in the province. Surrey, another municipality that prohibits cannabis retailers, is currently reconsidering its ban.

Coun. Carol Day suggested referring the issue to city staff for clarification, as she would support access to medical marijuana.

“I don’t know that I want one on every corner. I certainly don’t want to go through what Vancouver’s going through there. They’ve got far too many,” she said.

Day’s motion was for further research on how greenlighting cannabis retail stores has impacted different municipalities, as well as the possibility of having one in Richmond.

The motion was defeated on a tied vote with Couns. Chak Au, Kash Heed, Bill McNulty, as well as the mayor voting against it.

“I’m not going to support that. … You can get mail-order cannabis. It actually comes from a distribution centre in east Richmond,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie, who added that, while the suggestion was to allow stores for medical purposes, the motion was about options for cannabis stores at large.