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Not Homegrown

Botany's Out-of-Town & Out-of-State Investors Want to Profit off of Selling Pot in Camden.

They Don't Care About Us. They Don't Care About Our Kids. They Don't Care About Our Quality of Life.


They Don't Care About Camden. 

They Care About One Thing and One Thing Only: Making Money.

Vote NO
to Articles 3 & 4.

 
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From the full list of every cannabis operation in the State of Maine - downloadable here---> 

(Botany = rows 1144 - 1164)

 

 

 

Camden Cares is sharing this list for two reasons:

1. It's important for residents to know who wants to put any store in our town -- especially one as controversial as a marijuana store -- and who stands to benefit financially.  The investors on the list above are owners of the business that's trying to change our zoning ordinance in order to set up shops here. 

They are not lenders: they are equity investors who are trying to sell marijuana in Camden's tiny commercial districts in order to reap a financial windfall.

2. The individual who proposed and wrote the ordinance change that would allow for pot shops in Camden, Mark Benjamin, has consistently repeated deceptive and misleading statements describing his own marijuana store "Botany" as a locally-owned business (presumably in an attempt to appeal to Camden's local sensibilities)

Here are excerpts in the Camden Herald from Benjamin's testimony at public hearings, as well as his own contributed articles to the paper:

  • "[Benjamin] noted that it is a local company whereas some of the other retailers in the Rockland area are run by out-of-state interests." - March 2, 2023.

  • "Botany is just what Camden needs,” [Benjamin] said in testimony to the town of Camden. “We are a locally owned company." - March 17, 2023.

In the time since we set the record straight, Benjamin has walked back his comments a bit, though still leaves our town with a lot of questions.

  • "It is true that in order to start Botany we did what entrepreneurs call a “friends and family” fundraising round. We took small investments from friends and family to help us get the business off the ground, and a few of those investors do live outside Maine." - April 28, 2023.

Benjamin labels our myth-busting a "personal attack", as opposed to what it is: a refutation of repeated statements that have been made in an effort to appeal to our town's fondness for all things local.

Camden Cares has never commented on the organizational structure of Botany or who founded it. However, we did point out that it was and is false for Mr. Benjamin to describe Botany as a locally-owned business, given its preponderance of non-local owners.

Per the list above:

  • Only 3 of Botany's 14 owners live in Camden;

  • 6 don't live in Maine; they live in 5 different states (Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, and North Carolina);

  • 4 live in Maine towns that voted to ban recreational pot shops (Cape Elizabeth, Hope, and Rockport);

  • 1 lives in Rockland.

Speaking of Rockland, the State of Maine lists 4 recreational shops there as of March 2023. In addition to Botany, they are:

  • Belvedire Farmacy - 4 owners, all from Rockland;

  • Highbrow - 6 owners, all from Maine, apparently across 3 sets of family members;

  • Sweet Dirt - 5 owners, including at least one from out-of-state.

So, Benjamin's first quote in which he compared his store against the other Rockland-area pot shops was just patently false: the other pot shops in Rockland don't have anywhere close to the number of out-of-state owners as Botany. And the rest of his statements on the subject of being "local" have at best been deceptive and misleading. 

Don't just take our word for it; we encourage you to download the full list of cannabis operations in the State of Maine to see for yourself. When you do, you will find that:

 

  • Botany has one of the largest owners lists of any pot shop in the entire state. If their funding is indeed sourced from "a small group of family and friends," it is remarkably large compared to the other recreational marijuana stores in Maine.

  • Botany also has one of the largest lists of out-of-state owners. It may, in fact, be the most multi-state "dispensary" in all of Maine (in terms of the scope of interstate ownership).

  • Many of Botany's owners are private equity or other financial services professionals (you can easily find this out by simply Googling the individuals on the list).

It is important for residents to know who exactly is trying to change the laws of our town, who stands to benefit from doing so financially, and to make informed decisions based on available facts. 

 

Botany received outside capital in exchange for equity in the company -- not interest free or low-interest loans from so-called "family and friends."  Every owner of Botany is seeking to make a profit from their investment; This is a matter of fact and is not disputable.

 

We have no knowledge of -- or interest in -- Botany's "cap table;" how much was invested in Botany by each owner on that list; or the relationships between any of these individuals and businesses. We are reporting only what we know, and residents can draw their own conclusions based on the facts.

Lastly, for an abundance of clarity, we don't think any pot shops belong in Camden, whether 100% locally-owned, 80% locally-owned, family-owned, owned by a single individual or by a global conglomerate.

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