Fri | Jul 30, 2021

Cannabis beauty products alliance

Published:Sunday | April 11, 2021 | 12:05 AMNeville Graham - Business Reporter
Virtudes co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Farrah Zargaran (left) and Morgan’s Creek CEO Joni-Dale Morgan observe the reaction of Virtudes Chairman and CEO Jamiel Jamieson as he tests the hemp-based lotion manufactured by Morgan’s Creek, on Thursd
Virtudes co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Farrah Zargaran (left) and Morgan’s Creek CEO Joni-Dale Morgan observe the reaction of Virtudes Chairman and CEO Jamiel Jamieson as he tests the hemp-based lotion manufactured by Morgan’s Creek, on Thursday, April 1, 2021, following the signing of a hemp-supply agreement between the companies at Morgan’s Creek’s Sovereign Centre location in Kingston.

Medicinal hemp producer Virtudes and Jamaican luxury skincare company Morgan’s Creek inked a partnership agreement that sees Virtudes becoming the main supplier of distilled cannabidiol, CBD, to the beauty brand. Morgan’s Creek recently moved into...

Medicinal hemp producer Virtudes and Jamaican luxury skincare company Morgan’s Creek inked a partnership agreement that sees Virtudes becoming the main supplier of distilled cannabidiol, CBD, to the beauty brand.

Morgan’s Creek recently moved into expanded space at the Sovereign Centre in Kingston, where it both produces and retails its products. This in a bid cater to a growing local clientèle and scale the company, according founder and managing director, Joni-Dale Morgan.

“We’re happy that Virtudes, through Farrah with her overseas location and connections, can do what’s necessary to have us reach the point where we can be exporting by pallets in another year and containers in another two years, rather than by packages as we do now,” Morgan said.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Farrah Zargaran, the co-founder and chief operating officer for Virtudes, is already looking beyond the current deal to more arrangements in the beauty and skincare industry.

“We want to be the producer for anyone in Jamaica that is creating these products or looking to do so, and has the expertise to back it up,” Zargaran said from her overseas location. Her company operates a large hemp farm in the remote hills of Lennox Bigwoods, in the parish of Westmoreland.

Morgan’s Creek produces a line of about 200 beauty and skincare products, including lotions, rubs, soaps and scrubs, according to Morgan, who was educated at Northern Caribbean University. The Virtudes deal will supply cannibidoil for Morgan’s Creek’s new Daleha Rejuvenation product line under its hemp-based portfolio.

Before venturing into business on her own, Morgan formerly ran the family business in St Ann’s Bay. She stepped away from the family operation after a serious bout of lupus, then pivoted into making skincare products that suited persons with her own condition.

Morgan’s Creek has been doing hemp products since 2016. The company previously produced skincare products using CBD oil purchased through pharmaceutical connections, but Morgan said the Virtudes oil is a better-quality product.

“The hemp oil that we are getting is far more potent than the type we were getting before. It was pharmaceutical grade that might have been processed to the point that it would not serve our purposes,” she said. “This hemp oil is coming from our own soil, and like everything else we are relying on the high quality and potency of Jamaican inputs for that export push.”

Morgan’s Creek’s export thrust is serious and deep enough that the company earned the 2019 JMEA award as new exporter of the year.

FEMINISED PLANTS

Zargaran said her company only uses “feminised plants” to decrease the risk of cross-pollination, delivering a near pure, high-potency hemp oil product.

“The way that we do this is to be careful how we grow our hemp. In addition to following CLA [Cannabis Licensing Authority] guidelines of being at least four miles away from other licensed ganja growers, our farm is so big that we could strategically decide where we wanted to put this hemp farm,” she said.

The farm operates within a virtual “green line”, that is, sufficient border space to mitigate the possibility of contamination from other strains of ganja or hemp in the area.

“All it takes is one male plant from a field that is a mile away, and then all of a sudden we get cross-pollination – and that can wipe out my whole field,” Zargaran said.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com