NEWBURYPORT — Despite criticism of its campaign tactics, Opt Out Newburyport was pleased voters banned retail marijuana in the city Tuesday.
"Yes" on Question 1 secured 52% of the vote, and "no" — to allow pot retail stores — received 48%. There was a 210-vote margin with "yes" earning 2,777 votes and "no" getting 2,567.
Opt Out Newburyport, which pushed for "yes" on the ballot question, received major support in Wards 4, 5 and 6.
In an emailed statement, Opt Out spokeswoman Lynn Schow said her group was "thrilled" with yesterday's outcome.
"Newburyport residents voted to join 100-plus other Massachusetts cities and towns that have Opted Out," Schow wrote. "A lot of hard work by many Newburyporters went into getting important information out there, and we are grateful for them and the community leaders that stood with us."
The unofficial results provided by City Clerk Richard Jones on Tuesday had Ward 4 voting 549-480, Ward 5 voting 468-292 and Ward 6 voting 571-385, all in favor of the ban.
"In the end it was up [to] the voters, and now they have spoken," Schow wrote in her email. "The voters have sent an important message to our kids about what's important to Newburyport, and we believe this is the right decision for Newburyport on many levels."
Opt Out did not have a team of officers — instead, considering itself "a resident movement" — but its campaign flyers, signs, stickers and more were seen all over the city.
When asked, the group did not comment on how much money went into its campaign. In a campaign finance report through the city, dated Monday, the organization stated, "No funds have been solicited or raised or accepted."
Last month, the group came under fire for signs found on public property and a Facebook post thanking the mayor and School Committee for aligning with its mission by hosting a vaping forum.
The group corrected the post a few days later, writing "Opt Out Newburyport did not intend to suggest the School Committee or the mayor is in favor of the referendum banning recreational use pot shops in our discussion of the vaping forum."
Newburyport Cannabis Action Network, the group which pushed for "no" on the ban, saw support in Wards 1 through 3, including Plum Island.
Ward 1 voted 385-346, Ward 1P (Plum Island) voted 91-79, Ward 2 voted 467-362 and Ward 3 voted 467-402, all in favor of "no."
"We are disappointed with the outcome but proud of the grassroots campaign we ran," said Newburyport CAN Vice Chairman Brianna Sullivan in a statement. "We are grateful to our team of volunteers and everyone who supported Newburyport CAN and the 'no' vote."
The organization spent $319.22 on lawn signs, according to a campaign finance report received by the city Oct. 30.
When asked if she could see a different outcome in the future, Sullivan said, "This is a newly legalized industry that is expanding in the state and the country, so I think there is certainly the potential for attitudes and policies to change."
Staff writer Heather Alterisio can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 978-961-3149. Follow her on Twitter @HeathAlt.