Meet the Panelists for Our May 20th Conference

Ngiste Abebe
Ngiste Abebe
NYMCIA/Columbia Care
Vice President of Public Policy
Ngiste is Vice President of Public Policy at Columbia Care, one of the nation’s leading medical cannabis companies. She serves as the President of the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association and on the board of the District of Columbia Cannabis Trade Association. Prior to that, she was co-founder of Undaunted Ventures, a political consulting firm which specializes in innovative narrative, training, and leadership coaching services, and which grew out of her work training progressive organizations and working on campaigns across Virginia. She is the co-founder and co-director emerita of New Leaders Council Virginia, a progressive leadership institute. Ngiste holds a BA in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and a Masters in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. She happily gives and receives recommendations for sci-fi novels and board games.

Joshua Alb
Joshua Alb
ALB Labs LLC
CEO
Joshua Alb has been a scientist, activist, and entrepreneur in the Cannabis industry for nearly a decade. His collaborative research in industry and academia has begun to help provide the path for a better understanding of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. After winning multiple awards for his research on the endocannabinoid system, he formed Why Not THC?, a science-based platform for Cannabis science, education, and activism. Seeing a need for education in his home state of New Jersey, he formed Cannademix, an educational event series to promote Cannabis education on college campuses. Through this science and education, Joshua believes that we can further dismantle the War On Drugs and relentlessly advocate for social equity. He had spoken before numerous government bodies to lobby for social equity and develop an industry based on science and education. His company, ALB Labs LLC, a minority-owned company, aims to provide cannabinoid products and redefine the future of cannabinoid-based medication.

Geoff Brown
Geoff Brown
CannaBuff
PharmD
Dr. Brown is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and is the editor-in-chief of CannaBuff magazine and CannabisQuestions.Health. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and abstracts on medical cannabis. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University at Buffalo in 2018. During pharmacy school, Geoff completed training at the Mayo Clinic where he developed an early interest in how pharmacists can help patients improve their utilization of natural medicines. In his initial work at UB, he conducted new research evaluating patient-reported pain and quality of life outcomes associated with the use of medical cannabis products available through NY’s Medical Program. This work was featured by NORML and has been widely cited as one of the first clinical studies in the U.S. suggesting medical cannabis may reduce opioid dose requirements. This eventually led Geoff to his current practice at a dispensary in Buffalo where he sees patients with a range of conditions from Multiple Sclerosis and epilepsy, to chronic pain, and PTSD.
CannaBuff magazine, is a quarterly print publication that promotes new cannabis and adjacent businesses in Western New York. Educational and professional in its scope, CannaBuff magazine discusses a broad range of legal, medical, and business issues facing New Yorkers and is available for free at over 300 locations, or by mail or e-mail.
Geoff is also the founder of CannabisQuestions.Health, a cannabis question and answer website, that gives users a pharmacist who will personally answer all their questions about cannabis in detail complete with references.

Lee Buttolph
Lee Buttolph
Tap Root Fields
COO/CFO
Lee started his career, after leaving Clarkson University, in the telecommunications industry working for Sprint and start-up Rhythms NetConnections. After the dot-com meltdown in the summer of 2001 and subsequent terrorist attack of September 11th, Lee left the corporate world and joined the Marine Corps as a Communications Officer. During his time as an Officer he deployed to Iraq twice and served in the roles of Platoon Commander and Operations Officer. In the summer of 2005, Lee returned to Central New York and started working for his father's wholesale lumber company. In 2010, Lee bought Buttolph Lumber, moved it to a new location and grew it from five to ten million in sales in two years. After owning the company for only four years, Lee decided to accept a buyout offer from a larger wholesaler and headed to Syracuse University on the Post 9/11 GI Bill to get his masters in Entrepreneurship and New Media Management. After leaving Syracuse University, Lee spent time working for and with high tech start-ups out of The Tech Garden, a business accelerator, in Syracuse, NY. In 2019, Lee was called by a good friend, Joshua Allyn, who had just started a company and had applied for a hemp license in New York State. Tap Root Fields started as a bare patch of land in Skaneateles, NY but has since been transformed into an operation that is ready to take on a cannabis cultivation license using a combination of outdoor and greenhouse growing. The farm is currently organic certified but the team has loftier ambitions to build in regenerative agriculture practices. In addition to his farm duties, Lee travels the world for the Boots 2 Business program. This program, run by the Small Business Administration and Syracuse University, teaches US military personnel how to start a business as they exit the military.

Brittany Carbone
Brittany Carbone
TONIC / Tricolla Farms
CEO TONIC
Brittany Carbone founded TONIC in 2017, while working as a personal trainer and health coach on Long Island, NY. Bootstrapping as a solopreneur, Carbone grew the company from a side-hustle operating out of her parents’ kitchen to the 7-figure business it is today, all while staying true to her original vision and mission of bringing the most healing to the most people. Brittany not only leads the all-female team at TONIC as the Founder & CEO, but is also the co-founder of Tricolla Farms in Berkshire, NY and Bardo Labs in Sayre, PA. Tricolla Farms recently became one of NY’s first adult use cannabis licensees, receiving their conditional cultivation license in April.
Brittany has hands-on experience in every aspect of CBD brand development and management. From manufacturing, marketing, and sales to regulatory compliance and industry insights, Brittany is able to provide Bardo and its clients with tactical guidance to navigate a complicated and rapidly-changing space.
From full-supply chain control and quality-driven product innovation, to the adoption of industry-leading authentication technology and a long-standing commitment to community support and reinvestment, Carbone is paving the way for an industry that operates with intention, integrity, and inclusivity.
Brittany also serves on the board of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association and is chair of the Association's Sustainability committee, working to ensure that sustainable development and environmental consciousness is built into the foundational framework of NY’s cannabis industry.

Kaelan Castetter
Kaelan Castetter
Castetter Cannabis Group
Managing Director
Kaelan has been in the New York hemp industry since 2015 as the founder of Sovereign Vines: America’s Only Hemp Infused Wine – a restart of his father’s venture from 1997. Over the past several years, he has led large-scale hemp cultivation operations that included 16 farms throughout New York. He was also the CEO of Empire Standard in charge of building out a compliant cannabinoid hemp manufacturing operation in Binghamton.

Kaelan is now the Managing Director of the Castetter Cannabis Group, an advisory firm focused on helping entrepreneurs understand complex regulations, developing sound strategies for market entrance, and providing government relations to municipal, legislative, and regulatory bodies. He is a co-founder of the New York Cannabis Growers & Processors Association, the state’s largest trade group where he now serves in a consultant role developing policy suggestions on behalf of its more than 300 members.

Gareth Charter
Gareth Charter
MassLive Media
Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Gareth Charter is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at MassLive Media and leads the group of Advance Local strategists, marketers, and campaign specialists behind Cannabis360. Charter led the effort to conduct the first formal research study on cannabis consumers in Massachusetts in 2020, which resulted in a second study in 2021 and an expansion of the research into Michigan. He has spoken at prior industry events, and written blog posts about the maturing cannabis marketplace in Massachusetts. In 2021 he was invited to provide feedback to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission on evolving marketing regulations. The MassLive Media team plans and executes marketing strategies with dozens of dispensaries, grow facilities, wholesalers, and ancillary businesses throughout New England. Cannabis360 combines local market insights with national reach and resources. The agency continues to develop innovative marketing solutions for the industry and partner with leading providers of research, digital, and place-based solutions.

Paula Collins
Paula Collins
Law Office of Paula Collins, PLLC
Owner & Attorney
Paula Collins is an Enrolled Agent and an Attorney, dedicated to representing cannabis entrepreneurs and investors through all phases of the business life cycle. A cannabis professional since 2015, Collins specializes in finding solutions for social equity license holders, fundraising, and taxation in the cannabis space. She specializes in helping start-up and legacy operators transition into legal cannabis businesses by first examining their personal journeys, family history, and financial snapshot. Collins is licensed as an attorney in several states, and is qualified to practice in the US Tax Court. As a tax professional with the highest credentials offered by the IRS, she has clients in almost every state in the US. Collins is a founding member of the New York Consortium of Cannabis Accountants (NYCCA), a VIP Member of DopeCFO, on the board with the Boston-based advocacy and education organization known as Elevate Northeast, and serves on the Social Equity and Diversity Committee of the International Cannabis Bar Association. Collins is a classical pianist, and is Chair of the Chamber Music Committee of the New York City Bar Association.

Erica Edwards
Erica Edwards
The Number Grinder Inc.
President & CEO
Erica Edwards is the Founder/CEO of The Number Grinder an accounting and bookkeeping firm that specializes in providing professional services for legal cannabis and hemp businesses. Edwards has nearly 13 years of accounting experience and a vast cannabis industry knowledge including an understanding of cannabis banking, compliance, payment processing, payroll, funding/investing, and taxes. Through The Number Grinder she has been able to help cannabis entrepreneurs improve and establish their financial foundation to sustain their businesses in this competitive industry.

As an Afro-Latina mother, entrepreneur, cannabis advocate, and accountant, it's always her goal to assist, support, and uplift fellow women and women of color in the industry. “As a professional, I strive to provide day-to-day support and pride myself on treating every person with respect and dignity. When it comes to me you’ll always have a relationship with a real human, available to deliver honest expertise with optimism and passion for what’s possible!” The Number Grinder works with a variety of cannabis businesses all around the country including growers, ancillary businesses, retailers, investors, for and non-profit organizations, and more. Allow a professional to take care of the monetary duties while you take care of everything else that goes into running a cannabis business.

Meaghan Feenan
Meaghan Feenan
Harris Beach PLLC
Associate
Meaghan focuses her practice on business and commercial litigation matters, with a focus in trusts and estates litigation. She litigates accounting disputes, drafts petitions and civil pleadings, performs complex research, defends objections and dispositive motions and has experience handling large-scale discovery productions. She is familiar with both civil practice and Surrogate's Court procedure. Meaghan was a Summer Associate at Harris Beach in 2016, and served as a law clerk in the Albany office during her final year of law school.
Meaghan advises organizations of all structures on developments within the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), including cultivators and processors, retailers, and distributors. She’s a frequent speaker on Cannabis topics and regularly publishes articles about the licensing process and legislative updates.
During law school, Meaghan served as Judicial Intern for the Hon. Kimberly A. O’Connor, Acting Justice for the Supreme Court of Albany County, where she drafted opinions on behalf of the court. As the Executive Director of the Anthony V. Cardona ’70 Moot Court Program, she directed more than 70 competitors in more than ten nationwide competitions. She competed twice in the University of Maryland’s National Health Law & Regulatory Compliance Competition in Baltimore, Maryland, is a member of the Order of the Barristers, and was awarded all four of the intraschool moot court awards as a third year law student. Meaghan also served as Associate Editor for the Albany Law Review.

Wei Hu
Wei Hu
MRTA Law, P.C.
Founding Partner
Wei Hu, Esq. specializes in NY cannabis law and the NYS Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA). Since the inception of New York State’s MRTA on March 31, 2021, Wei has been representing and providing legal counsel to clients, businesses and ancillary companies on areas of Adult Use Cannabis licensing, compliance, corporate, and legislative issues. Prior to founding MRTA Law, PC as a boutique New York Cannabis Law Practice, Wei honed his legal practice in NYS administrative/regulatory, public benefits, and litigation while working for the city of New York as Executive Agency Counsel at the Department of Social Services. His extensive legal experience includes representing NYC in various state and federal courts, administrative hearings before the NYS Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance, and judicial appeals under NY CPLR Article 78 proceedings. Moreover, he also worked on administrative rulemaking, public hearings and comments, promulgation of new NYS and NYC regulations.
Wei is a member of the Hudson Valley and New York City Cannabis Industry Associations, and the Asian-American Bar Association of New York. He has presented and held legal clinics on NYS’ new law (Criminal Procedure Law 440.46-a) to expunge prior marijuana convictions not subject to automatic vacatur.

Jeremy Jimenez
Jeremy Jimenez
Honest Pharm CO
CEO & Co-Founder
Jeremy Jimenez is CEO and cofounder of Honest Pharm CO. Jeremy has developed and design over 50 CBD product lines that are sold throughout the United States. Jeremy has consulted others in developing and design CBD product lines, along with quality control of CBD and biomass. Honest Pharm CO has dried thousands of pounds of local and out of state Hemp farms for CBD Processing. Jeremy has managed and consult 25 NY-based farmers to obtain a CBD license from Department of Agriculture. The company specializes in feminized Cannabis seed genetics from seed to final sale.

Charles Johnson
Charles Johnson
Leafspotz Inc.
Co-Founder and CEO
Charles Johnson Esq, is the co-founder and CEO of Leafspotz Inc., the first African American B2B cannabis transportation and logistics software company in New York. Leafspotz’s transportation software platform will help simplify the distribution needs between New York cannabis businesses with an end-to-end supply chain solution for transporting their cannabis products within the state. Charles believes that addressing the supply chain aspect in New York is not only a fundamental part of the adult use market, but are also the building blocks of ensuring our emerging market thrives for years to come.
Charles is a licensed attorney for almost 10 years with an employment law and statutory background. Mainly involving collective bargaining negotiations, administrative trials, arbitrations, and labor relations. Charles served as special counsel for BrownGreer PLC while working on the $20 billion settlement fund for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. Prior to passing the bar, Charles was a former law clerk for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission headquarters in DC under the Obama administration.
He is a proud member of the New Jersey Cannabusiness Association and a member of the New York City Cannabis Industrial Association where he serves on the Incubator & Entrepreneur Committee. Community wise, he serves on Manhattan’s Community Board 10 chairing the Public Safety Committee. Charles is also a proud member of the NAACP NYS executive committee and 2019 graduate of the NAACP NextGen national leadership program. Charles holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Fort Valley State University where he graduated magna cum laude and a JD from Western Michigan University. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and a recipient of the Network Journal's 40 under 40 achievement award.

Allison Kirchhofer
Allison Kirchhofer
NY Consortium of Cannabis Accountants
Owner/CFO
Allison Kirchhofer, CPA, MBA founded Accounting By Design in 2021 to serve New York and New Jersey's trailblazing cannabis entrepreneurs. She is the Director and Co-Founder of the New York Consortium of Cannabis Accountants whose mission is to promote financial literacy among New York legacy market leaders and social equity entrepreneurs.
Allison has worked with small businesses throughout her career. She is an expert in implementing systems for bookkeeping and accounting to establish strong internal controls and ensure timely and accurate records and reporting.
Accounting By Design provides bookkeeping and CFO services, ensuring reliable data and insight through customized reporting, planning and forecasting. Allison works closely with tax practitioners in the cannabis space to document and implement sound accounting policies with the goal of building a defensible tax position for clients.

Timothy Mitchell
Timothy Mitchell
NY MMJ WATCHDOG
Patient Advocate
Timothy Mitchell has been a patient advocate in NY since 2017, spending the last several years pushing for meaningful changes to the state’s medical cannabis program. He’s been an educator and advocate for thousands of patients on various social media platforms, and has used these to mobilize patients as part of both smaller, issue-specific efforts (i.e. vape crisis, DOH’s ground flower hold) as well as larger lobbying efforts (ie Start Smart Coalition/NORMLs). He firmly believes that for the NY cannabis market to thrive, it needs a solid foundation to be built on which can only happen with a solid and robust medical program in place. He advocated for separate medical expansion when previous MRTA attempts failed, and urged all lawmakers to explicitly include patient protections in statute due to the current state of the program as well as what could be a difficult rollout of Adult Use operations.

He can be found calling out patient problems on the NY MMJ WATCHDOG Twitter page when not working on lobbying efforts with the Office of Cannabis Management or informing patients of the latest developments on other social media platforms (Facebook, Reddit). He lives in Saratoga with his husband and dog, Sophie, who already thinks of herself as a watchdog as well.

Katie Neer
Katie Neer
Lantern
General Counsel
Katie Neer is the General Counsel and VP of Industry Affairs at Lantern, an e-commerce marketplace that facilitates cannabis home delivery. Headquartered in Boston, MA, Lantern currently operates in Massachusetts, Michigan, and Colorado. Katie is also Of Counsel at Dickinson & Avella, PLLC, where she advises clients on regulatory matters.

Prior to joining Lantern, Katie was in private practice and gained in-house cannabis experience as the Director of Government Affairs at Acreage Holdings, a multi-state-operator, and was the Chair of the New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association. Katie also previously served as Assistant Secretary for General Government and Financial Services in the New York State Governor’s Office. At the Governor’s office, Katie was a member of the state operations team overseeing policy and operations for six agencies: the Department of Financial Services (DFS); the State Insurance Fund; the Department of State; the Department of Tax and Finance; the Office of General Services; and the Gaming Commission. During her time in the Governor’s Office, Katie was responsible for negotiating and overseeing the implementation of several key policy initiatives, including Paid Family Leave, Ride-Share, and the DFS’s cybersecurity regulations.

Katie was listed as one of the Cannabis Industry Power Players by PoliticsNY in 2022, and received the City & State Above and Beyond Award for her work on cannabis policy. Neer was listed as an attorney on The Best Lawyers in America, “Ones to Watch,” List for Administrative and Regulatory law in 2021. In 2018, she was profiled as an Albany 40 Under 40 Rising Star. She also serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood in New York.

Cecilia Oyediran
Cecilia Oyediran
Foley Hoag LLP
Associate
As an associate in Foley Hoag’s national cannabis practice group, Cecilia Oyediran advises clients on licensing, regulatory, and compliance matters in the legal cannabis industry. Prior to joining Foley Hoag, Cecilia was Corporate Counsel at a publicly traded multistate operator holding a large and diverse portfolio of cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensing operations in the tristate area and across the United States. Cecilia also serves as Chair-elect of the Cannabis Section of the New York State Bar Association, Co-Director of the Student Committee of the International Cannabis Bar Association and currently sits on the board of NJ NORML. A passionate advocate for cannabis education, Cecilia is a frequent speaker and panelist on a range of issues related to state cannabis licensing, social equity, and corporate law, and volunteers her time to mentor students and young professionals interested in entering the cannabis industry. Cecilia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University, a Master’s in Education from Harvard University, and a law degree from Stanford Law School.

Jon Purow
Jon Purow
Zuber Lawler LLP
Counsel
Jon Purow is Counsel in the New York office of law firm Zuber Lawler, a national law firm that has been servicing clients in the cannabis industry for 16 years. Jon’s practice focuses on cannabis regulatory and transactional matters, as well as general intellectual property litigation and transactions. Jon spearheads Zuber Lawler’s cannabis team on the East Coast as states progress on the path of legalization. Jon is a proud member of the Board of the national Cannabis Beverage Association.

Jon is also the host of the podcast “Cannabis Last Week” from Global Cannabis Times, which features weekly recaps of all developments in cannabis, as well as interviews with industry luminaries. Jon is a graduate of Brown University, and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Sarah Stenuf
Sarah Stenuf
Ananda Farms & Veteran's Ananda Inc.
Founder and CEO | Founder and Director
Sarah Stenuf is a native of Syracuse, NY. She served 4 yrs & 1 deployment in the U.S. Army, as an Apache Crew Chief, prior to being medically retired for epilepsy from a TBI & PTSD. Through years researching and utilizing alternative medicine, treatments, and program, Mrs. Stenuf became dedicated to helping others, specifically our nation’s veterans.
Which is why Mrs. Stenuf founded Veteran’s Ananda Inc. a, 501(c)(3) non-profit, homestead & retreat that provides care, support, & rehabilitation to our nation's veterans & their families through traditional & nontraditional treatments & therapies - riding a one-size fits all approach to support and healing.
Mrs. Stenuf is also Chairwoman for the NYCGPA Veteran Committee, Chairwoman for the City of Fulton Cannabis & Hemp Advisory Council and Founder and CEO of Ananda Farms - Veteran's Ananda Inc for-profit subsidiary. A portion of Ananda Farm's proceeds are donated to Veteran's Ananda Inc. to support the non-profit’s mission. Ananda Farms is NYS WOB, SDVOB, NGLCC company. Ananda Farms was recently awarded a conditional Adult-Use Cannabis Cultivation license and is dedicated to providing jobs, opportunities, and incentives to veterans.
Because of the dedication to give-back efforts, Ananda Farms and Mrs. Stenuf have received recognition and awards on a state and national level to include being recognized by Emerald Magazine as one of the “top 10 cannabis brands dedicated to social equity”, by Hemp Connoisseur Magazine as one of the “top 100 people you should know list” as well as awarded MVP at the national Cannabis Business Awards.

Tiffany Yarde
Tiffany Yarde
SHOKi Bev Corp
CEO x Sales
Tiffany Yarde is a wine specialist, tasting event producer and recovering B2B sales executive from the energy/infrastructure/securities litigation space, who believes in the power of storytelling and amazing food to bring people together. She is the owner of SHOKi, a licensed cannabis beverage and food manufacturer operating in California and New York. Tiffany’s personal mission is to be of service to the nascent cannabis beverage space. She works daily to uplift the human spirit, and to create brands that bend the lines of division in our global communities by connecting people through wine, spirits, quality food, and cannabis.