Sterling Crockett has been a small business entrepreneur for more than 30 years. He always wanted to be more than just a successful businessman. He wanted to do well, while doing good for others.
Six years ago his family experienced a crisis that would change Crockett’s personal and professional life forever.
His daughter, Nicole, had just given birth.
“Within 72 hours of giving birth to our first grandchild, she was diagnosed with kidney cancer.”
Nicole would need to have her kidney removed and undergo 16 weeks of chemotherapy.
“It was in about week two or three and she was just having a really, really rough time. A lot nausea. Not able to eat. The weight loss had started to set in.”
The doctor advised the Crocketts that he was aware of some patients who were also undergoing chemotherapy but were able to lessen the negative impacts of the treatment by using medical cannabis.
Nicole and her family decided to try it in hope of easing the effects of the chemo.
“Within 24 hours the symptoms were brought under control. She started eating again,” Crockett said. “The nausea dissipated, which was very good for her and us in the overall situation because it allowed her to live a higher quality of life and have the time and energy with her newborn for that bonding at a very critical time. So we are one of the fortunate families.”
Six years later, Nicole is cancer-free and her daughter just recently started first grade.
And Crockett embarked on a business venture that he could do well with, while doing good for other people.
“When I experienced this, of course, I had a lot of emotion and feelings around the fact that, wow, this is pretty amazing what happened to my daughter, why don’t more people have access to these treatments.”
Crockett founded AGRiMED, a fully integrated organization, bringing medical cannabis from cultivation to patient care. The company has applied for one of the five remaining licenses to produce and sell medical marijuana in Florida.
Crockett insists his company is different from many of the others in the business.
AGRiMED’s mission isn’t to just grow marijuana. Crockett wanted to go back to the drawing board and reexamine the entire process of creating medical cannabis-based products. He wanted to take a modern, scientific approach to produce high-quality strains of cannabis and be able to deliver it to patients in the most effective way.
Crockett says too often companies licensed to grow medical marijuana have their sights set on eventually producing the plant for recreational use. He says AGRiMED is focused solely on medical purposes.
He does not use the term medical marijuana. At AGRiMED it’s referred to as medical cannabis.
“One of the things that using the name cannabis does, is it causes people to ask questions and we can explain, and so we can begin to paint a bit of a different picture,” Crockett says. He says that helps to reduce some of the stigma that comes with the word “marijuana.”
The business’ website touts AGRiMED’s scientific approach to developing its product:
“We employ industry best practices in agricultural technology and the pharmaceutical industry, employ experienced professionals aided by agricultural experts, and continually improve our drugs through research and development.”
The company has employed experts in the field to develop state-of-the-art greenhouses, It doesn’t use pesticides or fertilizers on its plants.
That strategy helped AGRiMED attain one of the 12 medical marijuana licenses awarded by the state of Pennsylvania earlier this year. Not only did the company receive one of that state’s coveted licenses, it scored the highest of the 177 applicants with a score of 790.44 on a scale of 1,000.
“We put forward a team that has well over 200 years of experience in commercial agriculture, science, medicine, branding, packaging and marketing,” Crockett said. “So what put us over the top in Pennsylvania was that business experience and capacity to operate.”
Crockett hopes that formula will put AGRiMED over the top when Florida awards it’s final five licenses.
The Legislature agreed to add five additional licenses in response to the constitutional amendment approved by Florida voters in November that legalized medical marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions.
State health officials have until Oct. 3 to announce their selections.
Crockett won’t get into the specifics of his plans, but if AGRiMED is awarded one of Florida’s licenses he intends to partner with one of the state’s former citrus processing plants to develop a cannabis production facility, which will create new jobs.
He adds that AGRiMED supports Florida’s current law that bans the smoking of medical marijuana.
“Combusting something and inhaling it, we just don’t think that’s something you should be doing medically,” Crockett said.
John Morgan, who lead the movement to pass the medical marijuana amendment in Florida, has filed a lawsuit challenging Florida’s ban on smoking medical marijuana.
Crockett believes there are better ways for patients to ingest the cannabis, whether it be topical solutions or tablets. He says his researchers are constantly searching for new and better ways to enhance the delivery of the drug into a patient’s system