Botany Investor List
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 retail store in our town -- especially one as controversial as a marijuana store -- and who stands to benefit financially.
2. The individual who proposed and wrote the ordinance change that would allow for pot shops in Camden, Mark Benjamin, has made repeated statements suggesting or explicitly stating that his store, "Botany," is a small, locally-owned business, in an attempt to appeal to Camden's "no chainstores" 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 residents.
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;
4 of the other 14 live in Maine in towns that have voted to ban recreational marijuana shops (Cape Elizabeth, Hope, and Rockport);
6 don't live in Maine, and they live in 5 different states;
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. And to be abundantly clear, we don't think any pot shops belong in Camden, whether they are locally-owned, family-owned, are owned by a single individual or a global conglomerate.
We have no knowledge of -- or interest in -- Botany's "cap table;" how much was invested in Botany by each owner (and regardless of whether they are business or individual owners); 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.