Weed stores will soon be legal across Ontario, but Richmond Hill's mayor wants no part of it

The mayor of Richmond Hill wants the province to avoid his town when it opens its recreational marijuana in the coming years, or at least until the Liberal government "gets it act together."

Ontario plans to introduce 40 recreational marijuana stores in 2018, rising to 150 by 2020

Ottawa has committed to legalizing recreational marijuana by July 1, 2018. (David Donnelly/CBC)

The mayor of Richmond Hill wants his town to pass, not puff, when Ontario introduces marijuana retail locations in 2018.

Dave Barrow put it bluntly on Metro Morning: "we would not like to have a recreational marijuana store in our town," he said.

Ontario has plans to open 40 stores in 2018 and 150 locations by 2020, but a motion proposed by Barrow aims to keep Richmond Hill out of that mix, at least for now.

Barrow said the province is rushing its rollout and municipalities like his deserve the right to abstain until the plan clears up.

"When you've got your act together, we'll be happy to talk to you," he said of the Liberal government. "I think they're running way too fast with this."

Barrow said he expects a range of issues if stores crop up in Richmond Hill next year.

Richmond Hill Mayor Dave Barrow said the province has rushed its plans to open dozens of recreational marijuana stores. (CBC)

He said the town hasn't been consulted about where potential stores would be located and that the province hasn't indicated it would direct any additional revenue to municipalities that host the stores.

Communities with recreational weed shops are likely to incur some additional costs, he argued.

Barrow added that while some residents support his plan, others have criticized it, telling him it's time to "join the 21st century."

Can town ban a legal business?

Asked if the town would have any actual standing to deny the opening of what will soon be a legal business, Barrow admitted he wasn't sure.

His motion simply asks the town to advise Ontario that "Richmond Hill is not a willing host of a cannabis retail location in our community."

But could the town intervene if the province doesn't take that advice?

"We don't know, we're going to find that out," Barrow said.

The motion goes to Richmond Hill town council on Monday.