From nutraceuticals to cannabis: Howard Hoffman’s journey of innovation and opportunity

Howard Hoffman, a Philippine-born American entrepreneur and dedicated humanitarian.

Pioneering Filipino-American entrepreneur makes waves in the cannabis industry

IN a fascinating entrepreneurial journey spanning over a decade, Filipino American entrepreneur Howard Hoffman has ventured into various industries, ultimately finding his niche in the burgeoning cannabis business. From the early days of manufacturing nutraceutical supplements to the exciting world of cannabis extraction and product development, Hoffman has navigated challenges and seized opportunities to carve out his path to success.

The journey began with Hoffman establishing a nutraceutical supplement brand, evolving into manufacturing his own products and expanding into supplements and dietary goods such as collagen protein powders and green powders. Soon after, he ventured into private label manufacturing, producing products for other companies and diversifying into soaps, shampoos, and haircare items. The entrepreneurial spirit drove them further, leading to the creation of pharmaceutical products and conducting clinical trials for investigating new drugs for FDA approval.

However, the turning point came in 2018 when New York State opened the doors to hemp cultivation and extraction. Hoffman seized the opportunity, but the journey was not without its challenges. The price of hemp fluctuated drastically, with a sharp drop in value from $45 to $1 per pound. Nevertheless, being one of the few licensed extraction processors in the state, Hoffman saw the potential and made the strategic decision to transition into the cannabis business.

Breaking barriers in the cannabis industry

Obtaining license number 29, Hoffman embarked on a new adventure, utilizing his extraction capabilities to turn cannabis into oils for a wide range of products. From edibles and gummies to vape carts and cookies, Hoffman and his company, Omnium Canna has the expertise to create, package, and distribute cannabis-infused products. These offerings find his way to licensed retail dispensaries, where consumers can experience the carefully crafted final products.

Beyond his entrepreneurial pursuits, Hoffman has also dedicated his work to philanthropic endeavors. Through his other company, pHresh Products, he embarked on a mission to save 39 children with open heart surgery, successfully helping six Filipino children in Cebu. The desire to make a positive impact extends beyond business, and Hoffman finds fulfillment in giving back to communities in need.

Born in the Philippines and raised in California, Hoffman draws inspiration from his Filipino heritage and family background. With deep roots in the Philippines, Hoffman cherishes his cultural heritage and strives to represent the Filipino community proudly.

His mom, Marilou Gaceta comes from the province of La Union.

“My mom always believed in me and instilled in me the ambition to achieve something big. She played a significant role in my journey as an entrepreneur,” he said.

As Hoffman continues to navigate the dynamic landscape of the cannabis industry, he embodies the spirit of innovation, adaptability, and resilience. His journey serves as a testament to the power of seizing opportunities, embracing change, and staying true to one’s roots.

With each milestone achieved, Hoffman paves the way for other aspiring entrepreneurs and showcases the potential for growth and success in the cannabis business. As the industry evolves and regulations change, Hoffman remains at the forefront, driven by a passion for innovation, a commitment to quality, and a desire to shape the future of the cannabis market.

Howard’s passion for wellness and his unwavering commitment to making a positive impact led him to venture into the emerging cannabis industry. As the co-founder and CEO of Omnium Canna, he proudly represents the first minority-owned cannabis processor and extractor in the United States.

Hoffman developed an interest in the wellness industry and making people well at a young age. He holds a patent on pH strips and high potential hydrogen, which he has studied extensively.

Among his various business ventures, Hoffman recognized the potential of cannabis in promoting wellness. He believes that cannabis possesses medicinal properties and can offer an alternative to synthetic drugs. Whenever a new state legalizes cannabis or a pharmaceutical company enters the cannabis market, Hoffman sees a decline in pharmaceutical sales as people turn to cannabis for its medicinal benefits.

“I own multiple businesses, and it’s all about focusing on wellness. I found that cannabis does have wellness properties, so we’re here to create natural medicine,” he emphasized. “Cannabis has a lot of medicinal values, so I wanted to make people well instead of taking synthetic drugs.”

Despite the growing acceptance and legalization of cannabis, Hoffman acknowledges that the industry still has a long way to go. He believes that it will take approximately ten more years for the cannabis industry to achieve full adoption and reach an ideal federal level.

However, he remains optimistic about the future and the potential for cannabis to become a trillion-dollar industry, similar to the evolution of the alcohol industry after the end of prohibition.

The journey of cannabis entrepreneurs is still in its early stages, but Hoffman is committed to pushing for full acceptance and integration of cannabis into mainstream society. He believes that the industry’s growth will continue, with increasing tax revenue and widespread recognition of cannabis as a natural medicine. For Hoffman, the ultimate goal is to provide people with holistic wellness options and promote the benefits of natural medicine over synthetic drugs.

Advocacy and influence in cannabis legalization

In recognition of his remarkable achievements and his dedication to driving positive change, Howard Hoffman was selected as one of the prominent faces of New York’s “Why Buy Legal” campaign.
AJPress Photos by Momar G. Visaya

In recognition of his remarkable achievements and his dedication to driving positive change, Howard Hoffman was selected as one of the prominent faces of New York’s “Why Buy Legal” campaign.

This campaign aims to educate and promote the benefits of legal cannabis, highlighting the importance of responsible consumption and supporting legal businesses. Hoffman’s involvement in this campaign showcases his influential role as a thought leader and advocate for the cannabis industry.

“I was selected to be one of the faces there because of the high points that I bring from my other business,” he told us.

Being well-versed in compliance measures due to his experience in making pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals, Hoffman aims to bring the same level of regulatory compliance to the cannabis industry.

Regarding his future plans, Hoffman mentions working on a 45,000 square foot property with partners, where it will serve as the headquarters and manufacturing plant. With sustainability and ethical practices in mind, Hoffman expresses his commitment to prioritize environmental responsibility.

“We’ll be the first facility in Long Island to use solar energy to offset the carbon footprint. We’re also focusing on sustainable goal packaging to ensure that our products are compostable and don’t contribute to landfills,” he said.

Hoffman is proud to claim that he is the first minority and 100% cannabis processor and extractor in the United States, as well as the first Filipino in the world to achieve such a feat. However, being a pioneer in this industry has not come without its fair share of challenges.

“I was selected to be one of the faces of the New York’s Why Buy Legal campaign because of the high points that I bring from my other business, where we have compliance measures in place for pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals,” told the Asian Journal.

During our interview, he emphasized the difficulties in finding investors and assembling a capable team, particularly in an emerging business sector where experienced professionals are scarce.

“Finding investors, finding good operators, quality people who believe in us is the hardest thing right now,” he quipped. “This is a new emerging business, and the hardest thing right now is finding good people who believe in us.”

Building a team of dedicated individuals who share the same ambition and drive has been a crucial aspect of his journey. Additionally, sourcing high-quality cannabis products from reliable farmers has presented another significant hurdle. Hoffman explains that stringent lab tests must be passed to ensure the absence of pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and microbial pathogens. Meeting these standards is vital to provide consumers with a safe and top-notch product.

“Finding farmers with good quality product is the hardest part because they have to pass all lab tests. There are strict standards to ensure a high-quality, pesticide-free product,” he said, adding that the stringent quality requirements imposed on the cannabis industry surpass even those of the vegetable industry.

Hoffman also pointed out the alarming presence of over 1,500 illegal stores in the state of New York alone, where products often fail to meet safety standards due to the lack of proper manufacturing practices and operational procedures. This highlights the importance of establishing a robust presence and adhering to rigorous quality control measures to set a higher standard for the industry.

As Hoffman continues to navigate the challenges and pave the way as a trailblazer in the cannabis business, his determination to find capable individuals and secure top-quality products remains unwavering.

His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to enter the health industry, particularly in cannabis?

Hoffman emphasized the importance of networking and building connections in order to explore the wide range of job opportunities available in the cannabis field, from engineering and chemistry to production and communication.

“Network as much as possible because if no one knows you, no one’s going to hire you,” he explained. “There are so many jobs available in cannabis, from engineering to chemistry to production to designing to communications. It’s a whole brand-new field.”

In terms of social responsibility, Hoffman expressed his intention to further help impoverished communities in the Philippines by providing support, such as food programs.

“We’re going to work on helping impoverished communities, providing them with effective drugs and creating programs such as giving food away,” he said “We’re committed to making a positive social impact.”

He considers it a rewarding experience when he receives positive feedback from customers who have found relief or recovery through cannabis-based products.

When asked about his entrepreneurial mindset, Hoffman attributes his self-taught approach and ambition to his mother’s belief in his potential for success. His mother played a significant role in his journey. He mention having two sisters who are pursuing his own careers in the medical field.

Reflecting on his life in the Philippines, Hoffman recalls childhood memories of playing with a specific toy and enjoying the abundance of fresh fruits. He mentioned that while he hasn’t visited the Philippines in a long time, he looks forward to visiting again soon as an American citizen. He pointed out the previous stigma surrounding cannabis in the Philippines and his concern about the consequences of consuming or selling it.

“I haven’t visited the Philippines in a long time, but now as an American citizen, I feel more open to the possibility. I hope to reconnect with my roots and contribute my knowledge and support to the country, especially in terms of medical and legalized cannabis,” he said.

Looking ahead, Hoffman envisions a future where cannabis products have established and respected brands. His ultimate goals extend beyond business, as he expressed a desire to be an amazing father to his young child.

Howard Hoffman’s journey as a Filipino-American entrepreneur in the cannabis business has been nothing short of remarkable. With his unwavering dedication to proper health and nutrition education, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his commitment to sustainable practices, he has become a true trailblazer in the industry. n


Momar G. Visaya

Momar G. Visaya is the Executive Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach him at [email protected].

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