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NJ Cannabis Manufacturer Sussex Cultivation of Onyx Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The NJ cannabis manufacturer of Onyx, Sussex Cultivation, held a Grand Opening ribbon cutting to mark the start of production in Vernon in Sussex County.

While Sussex Cultivation has not started making New Jersey cannabis products yet, it wants to get its 1st products on the shelves by 4/20, the traditional cannabis holiday.

In addition to processing cannabis for other companies, Sussex Cultivation will also process its own brand, ONYX. An Onyx flyer said they are interesting in preserving the terpenes that give cannabis its distinct scene. They also plan to make edibles, vape cartridges, and dab products, like live rosin, resin, hash, and liquid diamonds.

“This is a great opportunity for Vernon,” Vernon Mayor Anthony Rossi declared.

He is pictured in the center right in sunglasses, cutting the ribbon above.

“This is a good in both the civic and financial life of our town,” Rossi added. “The town desperately needs these tax funds. Most of that budget is already spent.”

“Our municipality is in great need of additional revenue to help our homeowners pay the ever-increasing costs of the normal operation, care, and maintenance of our town,” former Vernon Mayor Howard Burrell stated.

Woman and Locally Owned NJ Cannabis Manufacturer

Sussex Cultivation is mostly owned by the Dowling family. The Dowlings also own and operate a healthcare staffing firm called Nurses 24/7.

Sussex Cultivation President Brian Dowling declared.

He is pictured above in the center with a beard and gray ONYX t-shirt.

“Nobody wants to walk into a dispensary and spend their entire paycheck on two bags of cannabis and a vape. We have to improve the experience of the customer,” Brian explained.

He added they needed major investment to open.

“Our goal is to prove our concept that ultimately gives the customers a better experience. I was one of the first customers in New Jersey, and I wasn’t happy with the experience,” Brian declared. “We can’t change the entire market, but we’re hoping to spark an interest in new operators and challenge the way they do things to ultimately give the customers a better experience,”

“I want to open the doors and show you what we’re doing.,” he added. “I would really like to change the reputation of the current cannabis industry in New Jersey.”

Brian said their general contractor owns the building and remodeled it for them.

NJ Cannabis Manufacturer Family Business

Sussex Cultivation Chief Operating Officer (COO) Chris Dowling is Brian’s father. He has 20 years of experience building businesses in the healthcare and energy sectors.

“Today, we begin a new chapter with the opening of this facility. This moment is especially poignant because it represents the realization of a dream by our son Brian,” Chris exclaimed said to applause. “It fills us with immense pride.”

Lori Dowling is the majority owner and co-founder, Chris’ wife, and Brian’s mother. Sussex Cultivation’s conditional manufacturing license winner letter from the NJCRC was addressed to her address in Wayne in Passaic County, making them a locally and women-owned company.

LD did not want to give a speech at the Grand Opening party and instead invited Chris to do so.

“If we had just done this as a family and ya know, with Joe’s family, we probably would have failed,” Brian noted about their Chief Financial Officer Joe Bellantoni

He praised Joe and his wife Denise for their help in opening.

“Without Joe, we wouldn’t really be here,” Brian said of his partner.

Bellatoni has extensive financial acumen from managing a cannabis farm and securing substantial financing across his career. He owns a large cannabis farm in Oregon under the name Eleven Eleven, which had some minor issues with regulation. According to an article, Beelatoni is an alumnus of the college MIT after going to High School in New Jersey and nearly dying.

Touring the Sussex Cultivation Facility

The first floor of Sussex Cultivation contains a reception lounge and offices inside of what looks like a converted barn. Their Manufacturing Director, Seth Brown, gave tours of the production facility.

The production facility looked pretty sterile and industrial. It was brand new since nothing had been made there yet. It still smelled of new paint. The Sussex Cultivation cannabis manufacturing facility was a fairly spacious place. The industrial process is very digital and scientific.

“That’s the name of the game, efficiency,” Brown noted.

He showed the tour a Hashatron machine, which will make solventless live rosin Onyx products easily.

Sussex Cultivation NJ Cannabis Manufacturer Edibles Hash Onyx

“This is the only one in the State,” Brown declared.

He also showed the Pure Pressure machine which hill max Onyx hash products.

Sussex Cultivation NJ Cannabis Manufacturer Edibles Hash Onyx

“I can control it with an app,” Brown said.

He explained he started growing cannabis in Northern California when the process was more labor-intensive.

“With the industry comes automation. It allows us to pay our staff better, invest in our inf, which if any of y’all work in the industry in New Jersey know many people are not doing,” Brown argued. “It allows you to put a better price point on things.”

A Podtronix also helped with making cannabis products.

Sussex Cultivation NJ Cannabis Manufacturer Edibles Hash Onyx

The goal of the machines is to extract quality plant material and eliminate what is unnecessary.

“All your data is collected,” he said about the machines. “You’re only pulling the good stuff.”

Independent NJ Cannabis Products

Brown said they want to ensure that their their products are top quality.

“You won’t get anything that’s clear as day and tastes like hay from us,” he joked.

Brown noted they are trying to run the production with 5 or 6 people. They want it to be as automated as possible.

He previously made cannabis products for the Multi-State Operator (MSO) corporation TerrAscend NJ.

“I’m here now because we don’t cut corners here,” Brown declared.

“Cannabis people aren’t stupid and won’t buy whatever the hell is on the shelves,” he added. “We’re trying to do it right from the beginning.”

Along with vape cartridges and concentrate dab products, they are also planning to make edibles.

Sussex Cultivation Expansion Plans

Sussex Cultivation launched as an NJ cannabis manufacturer first. It is planning to move into cultivation soon. They plan to open a dispensary last.

The company plans to start cultivation in May and could likely harvest by July. The cultivation facility will begin with 2,000 square feet of indoor canopy. They want to expand into a 30,000-square-foot canopy.

Sussex Cultivation won an annual manufacturer license legally needed to open from the CRC last June. It won the conditional license in July 2022, which is half the application. SC won conversion to an annual cultivation license and local approval in Dec 2022. Sussex Cultivation first won a conditional cultivation license in April 2022.

Sussex Cultivation said they are committed to collaborative growth and support within New Jersey. 

New Jersey is like an arid, nearly desert environment with so little quality, affordable legal cannabis flower. Several independent New Jersey cannabis dispensaries have told Heady NJ that they want to sell better quality flower on their shelves than is currently available. In addition, independent New Jersey cannabis manufacturers want to process new quality independent flower as well.

More importantly, a great majority of New Jersey cannabis consumers feel the same way.

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