The Ontario government appears to be backtracking on a statement that municipalities will be unable to opt out of hosting marijuana stores.

The issue came up this week after a City of Richmond Hill committee endorsed a statement saying it wouldn't be willing to host one of the stores after Ottawa legalizes recreational pot in July, 2018.

A spokeswoman for Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa told The Canadian Press on Friday that if a community was selected to host a marijuana shop, it could delay hosting the store but couldn't completely opt out of having it.

However, just hours later Jessica Martin said the government still hadn't decided whether municipalities would be allowed to opt out of hosting retail pot shops.

Ontario was the first province to announce a detailed plan to sell and distribute recreational pot, and will set the legal age to purchase it at 19.

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario hopes to open 40 stores by next July, and consumers will also be able to access cannabis through an online retail website.