Marijuana Shops in Camden?
3 Facts That Will Blow Your Mind
We Are Coming
There is a lot of disinformation floating around out there - whether it's being intentionally spread or just sits in the recesses of our minds from years of deeply held beliefs (our own organization's directors included).
This page is called "Facts" for a reason: to clear things up and make sure you have these incredible (and incredibly important) key facts and stats in hand when you make your decision to vote on whether to change Camden's existing zoning ordinance to allow for two retail marijuana shops to open in our downtown commercial districts.
#1 – Camden Will Receive No Tax Revenues or Benefits. None.
Maine's marijuana law charges a 15.5% tax on all recreational marijuana sales (and none on medical). None of this revenue goes to the municipalities that have pot shops. Nothing. Nada.
Camden won't see a cent for its schools, its fire and police departments, its roads and infrastructure -- absolutely nothing. It all goes to Augusta, with a ton going to newly created agencies who exist solely to oversee the cannabis industry in Maine.
We get reimbursed at the end of the year up to $20,000 maximum for any fees we can prove were incurred by having pot shops in town -- licensing, policing, clean up, etc. That means we can actually end up having to use our own property tax dollars to subsidize pot shops. It's absolutely insane. And true. Read More.
#2 - Knox County Has 118 More Pot Shops Per Capita Than New York County
New York County (Manhattan) has 1.7 million residents. It currently has 4 licensed retail marijuana shops. That's 1 for every 425,000 residents.
Knox County, Maine has 40,000 residents, and currently has 11 licensed retail marijuana shops. So 1 pot shop for every 3,600 residents.
That means we currently have 118 times the number of pot shops per capita in Knox County than New York. And "per capita" aside, we have 3 times as many licensed pot shops in a county that is 43 times smaller than one of the largest county's in the country.
Any adult in Camden can already legally acquire pot within a 15 minute drive -- most people in New York commute for more than an hour. Do we really need any more pot shops in Knox County, let alone in Camden? We have more pot shops in Knox County now than coffee shops, book stores, schools, daycare centers... and possibly even the omnipresent Dunkin'.
#3 - Maine Ranks 2nd in the Nation for Teen Drug Use (3rd for Marijuana)
Only Vermont has a bigger teen drug problem, according to the Portland Press Herald. And the most recent reports show Maine #3 when it comes to teen tokers (it's actually edibles that are the bigger problem).
It is no proud distinction for our state to have.
The Northern New England Poison Control Center caught wind of Camden Cares and our efforts to keep retail marijuana stores out of our town, and reached out to us to share some statistics (it's pretty incredible that we're on their radar, but they are passionate about what they do and so are we).
There has been a 300% spike in youth cannabis exposure reports in Maine between 2013 and 2022. And those are just the cases where the Center was consulted by a parent or caregiver who believed their child had been poisoned. That stat is specific to cannabis-ingestion only, and since they can't account for unreported cases, the problem is likely to be exponentially higher.
The Center noted that "the route of exposure is almost always ingestion. For teens and adults, a sizeable majority of cases we manage are the result of ingestion, as edibles are more likely to lead to accidental exposure (e.g., not realizing a baked good/candy contained THC) and also more likely than smoking to cause unexpected/unwanted experiences when taken deliberately due to the delayed and often stronger reaction."
We know that pot shops check ID at the door, but we also all know that adults re-sell their products to kids. Maine's own Office of Cannabis Policy recently acknowledged that resale of medical marijuana shop THC products is a "widespread problem" and the resale of recreational marijuana shop products is guaranteed to be much larger - they just haven't released the data yet.
The Elephant in the Room
Based on these facts from credible sources -- and the abundance of others you'll find on our website -- do we want to exacerbate an existing major teen drug problem, or try to stave it off? Are we going to prioritize selling marijuana to adults directly in Camden's town limits, when they can already get it so easily within a 15 min drive, or are we going to prioritize making Camden a town that is more attractive for younger families who want to build their lives and raise their kids here?
You have the power to decide between now and June 13. Our wise neighbors in Rockport have already said NO. Hope said NO too. Lincolnville and Appleton haven't even considered allowing pot shops in their towns. We hope you'll join us in voting NO to pot shops in Camden: Vote NO on Article 3, and NO on Article 4.
We thank you for your consideration.
For More Facts and Stats, see:
Our Kids (impact and potential impact of cannabis dispensaries on our town's youth & general health concerns).
Our Town (impact and potential impact on our town's character, safety, quality of life, and general economic well-being and social welfare issues and concerns).