For episode 2 of the Professionally Cannabis Podcast, the hosts welcomed Geremy Thomas, CEO of British cannabis company, Sativa Group, who spoke about his CBD wellness centres, the immensely successful future of the UK cannabis market, and drinking rum in Antigua!
The start of Geremy Thomas’ foray into the world of cannabis began with his invitation to a CBD conference in Canada. Having experience as an entrepreneur he was ‘blown away’ by the amount of inward investment into the new industry, and following a mix of the potential of the UK market and his own personal CBD usage, Sativa Investments had lift off.
Geremy plans to launch a series of CBD wellness centres across the UK, believing that success in vaping stores and the speciality coffee market would suggest similar success in future wellness stores. With a high level of interest from the general public and nowhere for them to get quality advice, ‘Good Body and Blunt’ looks to take advantage of the gap in the market. The Sativa Group CEO cites brand and distribution as the two key value metrics. Looking to occupy 100 UK stores in the next two years, Thomas plans on creating a high quality and informative CBD experience to drive business forward.
While they also pursue a joint venture in Germany, Geremy recognises their country being miles ahead of the UK in terms of where medicinal cannabis is. Having said that, he says “the UK is going to be the biggest medicinal cannabis market. We believe that because of the number of people here and the demographics of the population. A lot of older people and those with anxiety stand to benefit greatly from this”.
“I was talking to a colleague in Italy recently, where they have a cannabis light policy that allows for low levels of THC. It’s an interesting model, but talking about recreational use in the UK at the moment is much too premature and would spook the regulators. We are a medicinal cannabis and CBD wellness company. However, I believe that ‘night will follow day’ so to speak.”
“I don’t think we should be confusing the consumer… CBD wellness products are one thing, and that’ll be a year or two before we see some significant volumes. We’re happy to focus on this industry, as to not spread ourselves too thin between two separate strategies.”
After successful ventures in telecoms, e-learning, and the consumer finance industry, Thomas retired in his early 50s to the Caribbean island of Antigua but came back three years later, remarking “there’s only so much rum you can drink”. Despite having the dream life of Caribbean rum and cannabis, Geremy returned for a brief stint in guarantor lending until he found the cannabis industry, and while he expects it to be his last business, he expects it to be the biggest one yet.
“I think the message is the UK market will be big. We are well behind the curve, but in 5 to 6 years we will be the biggest medicinal cannabis market in Europe.”