I am an adamant supporter of Maine’s home-rule system of government. But it is an unfortunate fact that too often a minority determines the outcome for the majority, skewing what may be best for the majority as well as the town as an entity.

Our town meeting in Solon March 7 contained numerous articles on potential retail and medical marijuana businesses. Less than 100 people showed up for a population of 1,000-plus. As was brought up, federal law is not in alliance with state law. That’s actually a minor fact when it is obvious that this will be resolved; there is too much potential money at stake for large companies to let this lie fallow.

Fortunately the town voted to enact a moratorium: 180 days to deliberate the issues and arrive at (hopefully) an ordinance to bring to a special town meeting.

I can only hope for a larger turnout;  just because you can doesn’t mean you should. An ordinance would address this.

This is not merely a question of business rights, as was more than implied by strong proponents. This is for the protection of the population’s interest as well as the business owner’s.

Like any potential business within the borders there are specific details that need to be addressed: zoning, potential traffic, impact on property values, number of businesses allowed, odors, environmental impact, lights, hours of operation, impact on neighbors, compliance, fines. Oversight is necessary, and it should be determined by the legislative body in the best interest of the town.

Through preparation for what very well may be the inevitable, we become informed in our decisions — the legal, personal, economic — and, perhaps most importantly, we can determine the vision the town holds for itself and wants to project.


Olivia Atherton


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