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Meet Sativite Pty, JMCC’s New Distribution Partner for Australasia

A high-speed motorcycle crash nearly claimed Michael Cleary's life in 2012.

With multiple jaw and facial, spinal, pelvic and leg fractures, to overcome, doctors didn't think he would walk or talk again.

As Mike told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in an interview last December, "After the accident I had two years of staring at a white ceiling while I was undergoing about 47 surgeries, so I had a lot of time to think," he said.

Following those surgeries and during his long recovery, Mike was prescribed a variety of painkillers and other medications, several of them opiate-based. While they helped with the pain, he said he felt “out of it” much of the time and worried about the threat of addiction with longer-term use.

Then, a doctor friend encouraged him to try medical cannabis. Australia’s federal government had legalized the use of medicinal cannabis on November 1, 2016 after legalizing its cultivation for medical and scientific purposes in February 2016.) Mike was among the first patients to receive a prescription.

Within a few weeks of starting treatment, he was able to start cutting back on the prescription painkillers that had left him feeling constantly ill and tired, At the peak of his treatment Mike had been on more than 20 prescriptions. Within two years of turning to medical cannabis, he was able to reduce his other prescription medications by nearly 80%.

Felt “empowered”

Mike told the ABC reporter that using medicinal cannabis to manage his pain helped him feel "empowered".

"It's helped, not only myself, but a lot of others get back on to the path to be able to get out of bed, get a job and actually go and achieve and be a contributor to society again," he said.

Convinced by his experience, he joined patients’ groups like the United Patients’ Alliance and became a vocal advocate for the medical benefits of cannabis in all of its varieties – both high-CBD/low-THC hemp and the more balanced and higher THC cultivars often referred to as medical marijuana or cannabis. However, frustrated by the unreliable supply and uneven quality of both available, which often drove him back to opioid-based painkillers, he jettisoned his banking career and, with his previous background in sustainable farming, became interested in growing cannabis himself.

After one of Mike’s public presentations, he met Brian White, a plant biochemist with a unique background in both horticulture and international business, who had earlier co-founded one of Australia’s first cannabis companies, and Matthew Barnes, an agronomist and licensed cannabis grower with decades of practical experience in agricultural production.

Together, they decided they could do a better job of producing field-grown hemp for medical purposes by introducing better varieties for CBD production. They also wanted to use as much of the plant as possible in other by-products, such as seed for planting, food and oils, and textiles ranging from geotextiles to fine linens. The idea was to grow as naturally as possible and cut waste, thereby reducing costs for end-users, including patients.

They embarked on a search for a partner with more expertise in field growing and the technical knowledge to help develop new ways of harvesting and processing field-grown hemp. They were introduced to Ross Munro, one of the cotton industry’s best design engineers, who had been on the front-line of Australia’s cotton revolution since the 1980s. Having led multi-faceted businesses including cotton harvesting, manufacturing, hemp cultivation, composting, logistics and transport, Ross agreed to bring his wealth of experience to help Mike, Brian and Matthew operationalize their unique business model.

Connecting with JMCC

In 2018, Brian White, while representing his earlier Australian medical cannabis start-up, travelled to Canada and attended the Toronto Lift Conference & Expo, where JMCC was a major exhibitor. He met CEO Diane Scott and Global Sales Director Ian Scott. Brian was intrigued both by Jamaica’s long tradition of growing and using cannabis for medicinal purposes and Diane’s vision to help the country become a world leader in providing medical-grade product.

Discussions on some kind of partnership were continued after Brian’s return to Australia. A year later, Brian had left his original company and had joined forces with Mike, Brian and Matthew to establish Sativite. Some kind of relationship with JMCC continued to be part of their plans.

Today, from its offices in Bellbowrie, a suburb of Brisbane in Queensland, Sativite is supplying doctors, pharmacists and patients with prescriptions with a variety of medicinal cannabis products, and have just launched their own online pharmacy. Currently, all of their medical cannabis products are imported, largely from Canada, although the plan is to also grow their own cannabis in greenhouses eventually.

Over the long term, they’re focused on delivering on quality, sustainability, variety and affordability. Even though Australian governments have made it somewhat easier for patients to get prescriptions for medical cannabis over the past few years, affordability is a barrier for many patients: as in Canada, it’s not covered by public health plans. Sativite wants to tackle that barrier.

“One of the reasons why we were so keen to work with JMCC is that we can offer very high-quality and differentiated medical products at relatively affordable prices, thanks to Diane’s decision to grow a pharma-grade product as naturally as possible in an ideal climate like Jamaica’s,” Mike explained.

Several months of friendly discussions led to a formal agreement, signed in December, for Sativite Pty to act as JMCC’s distributor in Australia, New Zealand and other countries in the region that have legalized cannabis for medical use. Under the agreement, Sativite will sell and distribute JMCC’s high-quality, Jamaican-grown dried cannabis flower, which will be GMP-certified by Q2 with Organic certification following in 2021.

Sativite will also distribute JMCC Scientific’s ground-breaking new products later this year. The Aussies are very impressed by what they’ve learned about those so far.

“There’s nothing like them in Australia yet, in terms of bioavailability, dosage accuracy and ease-of-use,” Mike enthused. “We believe doctors, pharmacists and patients will be as excited by them as we are.”

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