More than a week after Newton voters voted against a ballot question that would have banned recreational marijuana shops from opening here — as well as a second ballot quesiton that would have capped the number of stores to between 2 to 4 — some ban advocates have been writing letters to elected leaders, The TAB and Patch, blaming Mayor Fuller and challenging what the numbers really mean.
Here’s what Jennifer Adams wrote on Patch.
Let’s look at the numbers — on Election Day last week, 39,967 votes were cast and 18,203 of those voted for the ban and 18,167 voted for the “2-4 store limit.” This left a remainder of 3597 who voted “no” on both in order to have 8+ stores. Of course, the actual number of people who voted “no” on both ballot questions was higher than 3597 because an unknown portion of the “yes” vote for the “2-4 limit” was cast by supporters of the ban who voted for the “2-4 limit” as a backup. It is not known precisely how many of the votes were overlapping because the City of Newton did not count the votes that way. Even if Newton city officials never manage to provide the exact breakdown of the votes, it is safe to assume that “ban” supporters would have overwhelmingly preferred the “2-4 store limit” over “8+” stores. Combining those votes with “2-4” supporters, it is very clear that the vast majority of voters do not prefer “8+” stores. Yet that is the result from this flawed ballot structure. The marijuana companies who advertised heavily for this option will be happy, even if the voters are not.
Maybe it’s just me but I’ve read this paragraph several times and I can’t figure out how Adams’ reached her conclusion. (The same is true for a letter in this week’s TAB, which does not seem to be online.)
Yes it was a compromise they didn’t like. It was also a compromise many ban opponents didn’t like. But politics and elections are almost always about compromises. You have to play the cards you are dealt, not the cards you wish you were given. Once both 2-4 and the ban were on the ballot, supporters and opponents had to decide where to place their chips.
Opt-Out made a strategic decision to oppose 2-4 full throttle (even calling it a “sham” on their lawn signs). They placed all their bets on the hope that a ban would prevail.
It was a gamble Opt-Out lost. As result, recreational marijuana opponents lost out on a compromise that would have allowed for fewer stores in Newton. Instead we can have up to eight.
But how is Opt-Out’s campaign strategy anyone’s responsibility but their own?