Sativa Investments PLC (NEX:SATI) Chief Executive Officer Geremy Thomas caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss the research contract with King’s College London, the relevance of its 1000th test at PhytoVista, being the most traded stock on the NEX Exchange and the progress of other projects.
Q1: You made a recent announcement about a research contract with King’s College in London, how does that fit into Sativa Investments’ overall strategy?
A1: It’s important for two reasons, one is that the government is calling for more research to enable them to speed up the availability of medicinal cannabis in the UK so we’re happy to support that request.
Also, from our perspective, it’s important because we believe the licensing is going to be a key part of the business going forward and by having this research commitment with Kings College London, we can go to the Home Office to get one of the first THC-rich cultivation and extraction licenses.
That process is now underway, we are working with the Home Office, we’ve had recent site visits and we’re confident that we’ll get one of those licenses which will be important for the business going forward.
Q2: The 1000th test for your laboratory business Phyto Vista, it’s an interesting milestone but what’s the relevance to the UK market for these laboratory services?
A2: When I was travelling in North America, putting together my thoughts on how this business might take shape, it became apparent to me that the laboratory testing function was actually holding up the growth of that market over there. Every batch of medicinal cannabis, or in their case recreational cannabis, has to be tested for the cannabinoid content, the heavy metals present, pesticides and mycotoxins.
I knew that this was going to form an important part of the UK business and is doing so now for us with the CBD wellness marketplace.
So, 1000 tests for the market is an important milestone for us but also indicates how that business is going to be important to not only from a regulatory point of view but from commercial contribution to our group revenues.
Q3: I understand that you were the most traded stock on the NEX Exchange stock last month, it must be pleasing to see such liquidity?
A3: It is very pleasing and we’re pleased to be supported by the NEX team. I think that fact that we have such a following, it’s a very positive and it’s also an indication of how the market believes alongside with ourselves that this small cannabis business in the UK is going to be big.
I think that we will end up with the biggest medicinal cannabis market in Europe and I’m confident about that because of the population numbers that we have here and the demographics of that population. We have an ageing population, a lot of people here and I think we’ll end up with the one of the biggest medicinal cannabis markets in Europe.
Q4: What else is happening in other projects at the moment for Sativa Investments?
A4: So, we’re interested in distribution so George Botanicals is one of our businesses that is a manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of CBD wellness products and that business is growing nicely.
We’re also about a launch our Goodbody and Blunt retail business so we’re going to be having these CBD wellness stores on the high street and our strategy is to open three of those under our own steam which we will be announcing, shortly, the first one of those.
Subject to the financial performance of those stores, we’ll then be franchising that opportunity with a target of 100 stores in 2 years. I think that will be a very big distribution point for CBD wellness products in the short term and then as access points for medicinal cannabis in the longer term so that’s a very interesting initiative.
We’ve taken on a guy called Chris Jones as Managing Director of that particular business unit, Chris was responsible for Phones 4U which was a big retailer of mobile phones on the high street and more recently, has been involved in a vaping business that had 119 stores in the UK. So, very relevant experience and we’re looking forward to Chris doing his stuff and make a success of Goodbody and Blunt.