letter to the editor

Camden Cares board issues statement on cannabis vote

Sun, 06/18/2023 - 10:00am

For anyone who wondered if there is a place left in America where people can leave their doors unlocked and their bikes unchained; where the air is clean, the land is green, and the water is as blue as the sky; where people smile and wave to their neighbors, and where kids can play in the streets until being summoned home for supper – last night was our answer.

Camden’s residents came out in force to vote and say no to ballot Articles 3 and 4, which would have permanently changed Camden’s zoning ordinance – a carefully constructed document which not only preserves the town’s historic and globally renowned quintessential coastal Maine character, but more importantly shapes the way we as residents live.

The articles, which would have permitted the opening of retail marijuana shops in our handful of small commercial districts, were decisively defeated: Article 3 was voted down by a tally of 1,470 to 680, and Article 4 by 1,337 to 786.  

What’s more, we saw one of the largest turnouts ever for a mid-year municipal election, with more than 2,100 ballots cast (possibly record-breaking at 60%-plus voter participation; these elections often see 15% or less).

While we formed the nonprofit Camden Cares to help represent a wide swath of residents who were opposed to the measure, this victory is all of Camden’s. 

To our generous donors, volunteers, friends and supporters, we are eternally grateful. But this victory was truly made possible by the thousands of residents who sacrificed hours of their time volunteering, posting signs, sending letters to newspapers, and reaching out to their families, friends and neighbors who made the difference. 

To those who voted “yes” to these Articles, we continue to have nothing but respect for you as our friends and neighbors who had a different point of view and took the time to make your voices heard, as well.  

There will be more controversies and battles ahead. It is the nature of democracy. It is the nature of life. This issue was a particularly heated one and caused great division in our community. But for the majority on both sides who engaged in thoughtful and respectful debate, we know that our collective wounds will heal, and we will be united as an even stronger community in short order. 

We will never be perfect but will always strive to build a better version of our town, and of ourselves. And so long as we continue to take the high road and conduct ourselves with dignity and mutual respect, Camden will only continue to grow as a magnet for residents, families, businesses, and visitors from around the world.

As a 501c4 nonprofit advocacy organization whose charter is to promote and protect the health, social, and economic well-being of our town, Camden Cares isn’t going anywhere. We will continue to work with residents and stakeholders to achieve a more perfect union in our small but mighty town.

From the bottom of all our hearts: Thank you, Camden. 

The Board of Directors at Camden Cares:

Jordan Cohen, President

Pete T. Rich, Vice President

Jesse Bifulco, Secretary

Wendy Leeper

Matthew Levin

Jeffrey Lewis

Sophie Piconi

Stuart Smith