Sativa Investments PLC (NEX:SATI) Chief Executive Officer Geremy Thomas caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss the background to the company, seeking approval for a change in investment policy, the UK’s position in the medicinal cannabis global market and similar companies in the UK.
Q1: Sativa is a relatively new company in the eyes of investors. You floated of the NEX exchange in March of this year, can you explain for us what exactly Sativa Investment does?
A1: We are an investment vehicle allowing UK investors to invest in medicinal cannabis. Medicinal cannabis is attracting a lot of interest in markets around the world including Canada, 28 states in America, Israel, the Netherlands and, closer to us here, in Germany.
Q2: We’ve just seen that you’re seeking shareholder approval for a change in investment policy, why is that?
A2: We started off focussing on the Canadian market, Canada was first licenced for medicinal cannabis in 2001 and has the most robust and proven regulatory regime. Since we been on the market, there’s been heightened awareness certainly here in the UK and the opening of the German market, it’s been deemed appropriate to widen that brief so that we can invest in any regulated market around the world and, indeed, the UK.
Q3: Where does the UK fit in the global market for medicinal cannabis?
A3: Currently, there is no legal framework for patients to benefit from medicinal cannabis here in the UK. Public opinion has shifted considerably in the last 12 months and there are moves within government to hasten the pace of change here in the UK.
If we look at the size of the Canadian market with just less than 38 million people and a $5 billion medicinal cannabis business, one could project the size of the UK market with over 70 million people here to be one of the biggest in the world when it happens.
Q4: Are there any other similar businesses to Sativa Investments in the UK?
A4: On the AIM market, 4 years, GW Pharma raised a considerable amount of interest, they are a producer of medicinal cannabis here in England, but they produce it for export purposes. They moved to the NASDAQ market because, at the time, the UK market was not receptive, didn’t understand what they were doing, but they’ve gone on now to be a CAN$4 billion Canadian valued company. So, yes, there is precedent and GW Pharma has gone on to be an extremely valuable business.