PRESERVE THE CHARACTER OF OUR TOWN
PROTECT OUR QUALITY OF LIFE
VOTE NO ON 3 &4
Camden is known throughout the world as "The Jewel of Midcoast Maine," and as a special place "where the mountains meet the sea." Residents and visitors alike enjoy four-season outdoor recreation while soaking in all that our uniquely charming and historic small town has to offer.
Are cannabis dispensaries worth the risk to our town's reputation, culture, and quality of life?
1) Camden is known as one of the best towns both in Maine and the country.
We are an international destination that is consistently ranked and reviewed as a top town by leading publications.
Travel & Leisure recently ranked Camden #9 on its list of the "Top 20 Most Beautiful Small Towns in America," -- the only Maine town to make the list. Condé Nast Traveler included Camden on its most recent list of "The 27 Most Beautiful Towns in America," with Bar Harbor being the only other Maine town to get a nod.
Camden also boasts some of the most valuable real estate in Maine. The latest data from Zillow (compiled by the website Stacker) shows that Camden's real estate is the 13th most valuable in the state of Maine and has grown by nearly 90% over the past 5 years (which is the largest increase of any of Maine's top 30 most valuable towns).
2) We don't allow big box chain stores in Camden and shouldn't have cannabis shops either.
Camden is known for its one-of-a-kind boutiques, restaurants, and quaint family owned inns and B&Bs. We don't have Walmart, we don't have Dunkin', and we certainly don't need marijuana storefronts downtown or in any of our limited (and tiny) commercial districts.
3) Dispensaries are a threat to public safety.
Camden is one of the safest towns in Maine and the entire country; crime is virtually non-existent. Residents don't worry about locking their homes, their cars, or walking the streets at any time of the day or night.
As all-cash businesses* the risk of crime escalates, involving everything from petty theft and pickpocketing to armed robbery of the dispensaries themselves. (More on crime in the "learn more" section below).
4) There is no way to prevent open air pot smoking.
From Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine, every town that has opened recreational cannabis shops has experienced second-hand marijuana smoke.
In Camden in particular as 4-season tourist magnet, we have nearly 30 hotels, inns and B&Bs -- by far, the most in the Midcoast -- all of which charge guests hefty fines for smoking pot or cigarettes in their rooms. Which means we are guaranteed to see an increase in open air pot smoking on our downtown streets, our parks, and public spaces.
5) Children are welcome everywhere in Camden.
We don't have strip clubs, gambling halls, gun shops or nightclubs. Cannabis dispensaries would become the only "adults only" spaces in Camden.
Simply put, the Camden we know and love today is beautiful, safe, and one-of-a-kind. Are cannabis dispensaries worth risking our way of life ?
*Dispensaries are cash-only businesses because no FDIC-insured bank in America (that we are aware of) accepts deposits from them. This is because cannabis remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance at the federal level. No credit cards can be used to purchase cannabis at dispensaries; "cash-back" systems have been set up at some dispensaries in order to accept payments using debit cards, but authorities are starting to crack down on them, as it is money laundering: https://www.seattletimes.com/business/weed-shops-switch-to-cash-after-cashless-atm-crackdown.
Additional crime news and stats
"Crime targeting LA dispensaries hit an all time high"
"Despite legalization, most marijuana is still bought illegally" (explains how recreational dispensaries have become a boon to the black market, rather than a substitute as originally theorized).
"Street segments with recreational dispensaries... experience[d] an 18% increase in property crime... Street segments adjacent to recreational dispensaries also experienced notably higher levels of crime related to drugs (17%) and disorder (28%) during the post-legalization period."
Multiple claims have been made by those wanting to bring cannabis to Camden. Some are misleading. Some are simply false. The reality is that the only residents who will benefit from dispensaries in our small town are three out of the fifteen investors in Botany who live here. Every other resident gets nothing.
Every Town is Doing It!
Botany's owners often point out that 62 towns now permit recreational marijuana shops. What they don't mention is that more than 90% of Maine's town's haven't opted in or have already voted against having dispensaries in their towns. Notably, other resort towns in Maine such as Kennebunkport, Boothbay Harbor and Bar Harbor have all said NO to dispensaries.
Rockland Has It. Why Not Us?
It's true: Rockland, Thomaston, Warren, Northport, Belfast and other nearby towns have dispensaries, which means any Camden resident can acquire cannabis within a 15 - 20 minute drive. However, our neighbors in Rockport and Hope have already banned dispensaries, and neither Lincolnville nor Appleton have opted-in. If Camden votes "yes" on June 13th, we would become the first and only member of the Five Towns School District to have dispensaries.
"Camden Needs This."
The dispensary owners claim that dispensaries will bring much-needed, year-round foot traffic to our downtown. They say that we "can use more of that" as if Camden is a town with barren streets and dying businesses. Nothing can be further from the truth: Camden is as economically vibrant as ever, and we struggle to contain congestion in our beloved town.