Howard Hoffman, CEO and founder of OmniumCanna, one of three...

Howard Hoffman, CEO and founder of OmniumCanna, one of three firms licensed to process cannabis on Long Island. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

A pot processor is putting $15 million into a Long Island venture to infuse cannabis into everything from drinks to desserts.

Omnium Health Inc., one of three firms licensed to process cannabis on the Island, is about a week away from closing on a 45,000-square-foot building in western Suffolk County, founder and CEO Howard Hoffman said. The firm plans to outfit the building for the production of more than 100 products, ranging from fudge, chocolates and drinks infused with cannabis to packaged flower. (That's the part of the plant that's smoked because it's dense with tetrahydrocannabinol — THC — the compound that produces a high.)

Omnium Health has an array of machines in warehouses along with three tons of cannabis waiting to be processed, Hoffman said. His team has done a few production runs in a 7,000-square-foot section of a Hauppauge facility used by Hoffman's pharmaceutical and nutritional supplement business, The Omnium Group. But the company hopes to launch its cannabis processing in earnest at the new location in late summer or early fall, Hoffman said. He asked that the exact location not be disclosed for security reasons. 

He and his partners are putting more than $15 million into launching the business, an estimate that includes the cost of buying a building equipped to run on solar power, Hoffman said. They still need to remodel the building and assemble a team of nearly 60 employees, Hoffman said.

Fire marshals and other town officials will need to approve the setup, which will include a "bombproof room," where ethanol alcohol — a flammable substance — will be used to extract THC from leaves, stems and other parts of the plant that aren't suitable to smoke.  

Omnium Health, which will do business as Omnium Canna, also plans to extract THC by another method without using alcohol or other solvents. The flower will be chilled until trichomes — tiny, hairlike growths — fall off. These are then frozen and pressed into an oil that can be sold as a "live resin" concentrate or added to joints, food and other products, Hoffman said. 

"My favorite product, personally, is live resin," said Hoffman, 42, of Suffolk County. "That's the best and the healthiest."

In 2018, Hoffman started Complete Hemp, which has a state license to process hemp, a plant that's similar to marijuana, but has a lower concentration of THC. Complete Hemp extracts cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound that has anecdotally been found to provide wellness benefits and may be added to foods and lotions.

Moving into the cannabis space was a logical next step, according to Hoffman, who is Filipino American and has launched one of the first minority-owned extraction companies in the U.S.

"It's another modality to heal people naturally," Hoffman said. "I believe in this amazing plant — what it can do to heal."

The venture has been expensive. Hoffman said he couldn't get a mortgage, so is buying the building for cash. He's also paying farmers to store cannabis in climate-controlled environments until the processing plant opens.

But he's hoping to profit from two Long Island-born brands Omnium Health has in the works: Rockafella, a "high-class" and "indulgent" line, and Waahoo, inspired by the jubilant sound made by the Nintendo character Mario. 

"Cannabis makes you go: Waahoo!" he said.

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