Kaelan Castetter and Jim Castetter 1997

Jim Castetter & Kaelan Castetter

circa 1998

It starts with hemp wine in 1997.

Jim Castetter founded the first hemp infused wine, Hemp Wine America, in 1997. The company enjoyed break-out success, with distribution from coast-to-coast. After two years of success, the federal government repealed his label approval citing the use of the word "hemp".

In 2015, Kaelan Castetter, Jim’s son, began exploring the legality of bringing hemp wine back to the market. He was also met with steep opposition from federal agencies. Undeterred, the duo successfully proved to New York State that according to the DEA's own rulings, non-psychoactive hemp ingredients were allowed in alcohol.

 

In 2017, the wine hit shelves once again and their company was awarded New York's first processing license.  

Hemp Wine Background
 
New York strives to become a national leader.

In 2015, Assemblymember Donna Lupardo (D-123) recognized the potential of hemp and moved to create the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. As one of the State's first hemp operations, Kaelan and Jim worked closely with Lupardo to help cultivate a vision of the Empire State becoming a global leader for hemp.

To help businesses, regulators, professional services providers, and the public understand the constantly changing regulatory environment - the Castetter Cannabis Group was formed. 

Our small but experienced team has quickly become a leader in ensuring fair policy was implemented, working closely with lawmakers, regulators, and the Governor's Office. 

In 2019, we became founding members of the New York Cannabis Growers & Processors Association, a powerful voice in Albany on hemp and adult-use legalization.  

Leading the Way. 

Using our knowledge of the market, regulations, and the cannabis culture; we have become a trusted source of expertise for policymakers, entrepreneurs, and the community.

The Castetter Cannabis Group strongly believes in helping to solve the knowledge gap through our weekly newsletter, thought leadership in the media, publishing policy reports, and advisement of New York's future industry leaders. 

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Our Team

Kaelan Castetter

Director of Policy Analysis

Kaelan has been in the New York cannabis industry since 2015 as the founder of Sovereign Vines: America’s Only Hemp Infused Wine. When the company received New York’s first hemp processing license, they were stymied by federal rulings on adding hemp extracts to alcohol. Kaelan successfully argued that those rulings were inconsistent with Administrative Rules Procedures and was able to secure the first wine label approval in New York State Liquor Authority history. Kaelan is also a co-founder of the New York Cannabis Growers & Association, a lobbying group heavily involved in discussions around adult-use legislation and helped to draft the landmark Hemp Extract Law in 2019.

Leading the Castetter Cannabis Group, Kaelan has become a trusted advisor to some of the top hemp companies, lawmakers, and organizations across the State. 

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Amman Weaver

Director of Financial & Market Analysis

Amman began his career pioneering the design of operational risk scenarios at Barclays Investment Bank. Prior to that, he received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from the State University of New York at Geneseo. Specializing in corporate finance, business strategy & risk management, his skillset helps to advise clients in best practices for navigating the nascent cannabis industry. His input is valuable in shaping our analysis of how complex regulatory frameworks relate to operational risk

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Aldous Loyd

Director of Cultivation 

Aldous is an expert in the genetic development and cultivation of cannabis. He has a lifetime of experience spearheading commercial growing operations throughout North America. His scientific knowledge combined with years of practical experience has honed his careful approach to the cultivation of industrial hemp. His insights are critical to forming analysis that affects cultivators and farmers.

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Kate Hruby 

Lead Policy Analyst

Kate is CCG’s Lead Policy Analyst, focusing on helping small businesses, entrepreneurs, and priority applicants plan for the multi-billion dollar adult-use cannabis industry. She brings nearly eight years of combined experience in public policy research and analysis, legislative outreach, report preparation, and professional writing to the policy analysis team. Kate earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of South Carolina, where she was named the 2017 Max Holland and Mitch Sizemore Scholar. Her prior roles include Legislative Liaison for South Carolina Women and Leadership, Research Director of the South Carolina Senate’s Family and Veterans’ Services Committee, and education reporter for The Index-Journal, among others.

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David Nachman

Client Relations Manager 

David holds a B.A. in marketing from Binghamton University and served as Vice President for the school's Green Wolverine chapter, a club devoted to cannabis career development. 

As Client Relations Manager, David coordinates across the entire team and our network of subject matter experts to deliver solutions for our clients. 

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Jim Castetter 

Market & Cultivation Expert

Jim is the originator of hemp-infused wine, breaking out his innovative product in 1997, working with hemp producers in the Netherlands and Germany. He has watched and participated in the development of industrial hemp from a small movement to a billion-dollar industry.

 

He has also spent years as a master mechanic and auto racing marshal, bringing his passion for excellence to everything he does. Between his time pioneering hemp-infused wine and forming CCG, Jim led the Northeast in sales at Verizon. With his experience and invaluable skills, Jim delivers the ideal balance of experience and creativity. 

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Our Services

 

Compliance

Stay compliant  through the turbulance of an ever changing regulatory environment.

Regulatory & Strategic Analysis

The current and future regulatory outlook affects almost all aspects of decision making for cannabis operations. Our expert team will help to guide you with fully researched insights, analysis, and regulatory forecasting - setting your business up for success.  

Adult-Use Application Writing

From security and compliance to social equity plans, our experienced team will put your business in the best position to receive licensure. 

Business Planning

Prepare your business for entrance into the volatile cannabis market through careful planning, market data, and professional financial models.