Vicente Sederberg Launches Environment, Health, and Safety Practice

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DENVER — Vicente Sederberg LLP (VS), a leading national cannabis law firm, announced Tuesday it has formed an environment, health, and safety (EHS) practice led by environmental attorneys with extensive public and private sector experience in the field. The new practice group will focus on helping marijuana and hemp businesses maintain compliance with state and local EHS rules, as well as federal regulations handed down by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and other agencies.

With the legal cannabis industry growing rapidly, regulators at every level of government are showing heightened interest in holding cannabis businesses accountable for requisite environmental permits, licenses, and regulatory compliance. States and municipalities are increasingly incorporating sustainability requirements into license applications and regulations, and federal enforcement actions have been taken against cannabis companies for violations of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

On Wednesday, September 22, leaders of the VS EHS practice will host a free online review of the environmental laws and regulations that most commonly impact the cannabis industry. The webinar will also cover lessons learned from recent environmental enforcement actions, and it will highlight sustainability opportunities that result in cost savings. Register now and find more details.

“EHS is an area in which cannabis companies may be highly exposed to regulatory enforcement actions,” said Michelle Bodian, a senior associate attorney and co-chair of the EHS practice group at VS. “Noncompliance can result in significant civil or criminal liability for not only the businesses, but also the individuals who operate them. With enforcement activities ramping up, it is more important than ever for operators to understand their obligations and engage relevant resources to help them navigate these nuanced issues.”

The VS EHS practice group offers cannabis businesses a variety of services across the following areas: compliance and permitting; land use and real estate; litigation and enforcement; sustainability; and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters. A full list of services is available.

“In most cases, noncompliance with environmental regulations is likely unintentional and stems from a lack of in- or out-of-house personnel with experience in EHS law,” said VS counsel Marc Ross, co-chair of the EHS practice group and head of the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practice VS launched in July. “Up until now, cannabis operators have tended to devote more attention and resources to health and safety rules aimed at protecting consumers and employees. But with significant potential for hefty fines, criminal charges, and bad publicity, the ‘E’ in EHS is equally important.”

About the EHS Practice Leaders 

  • Michelle Bodian is a senior associate attorney at VS, where she is a leading member of the Hemp and Cannabinoids Department and co-chair of the EHS and Grants and Loans practice groups. Prior to joining the firm, Michelle served as land use counsel for the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Previously, she worked as an associate at a civil litigation and transactional law firm in Connecticut, where she focused on environmental, land use, and real estate law and environmental and civil litigation. During law school, Michelle served as a legal intern for the Environmental Protection Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, and she was a certified legal intern with the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s Environmental Law Clinic. She is currently a member of the American Herbal Products Association Cannabis Committee.
  • Marc Ross is counsel, co-chair of the EHS practice group, and head of Impact and ESG at VS. He previously served as director of community outreach at multistate cannabis operator Harvest Health and Recreation Inc. Prior to entering the cannabis space, he founded and led Rock the Earth, a national environmental advocacy organization. He also served as in-house environmental counsel to Alcoa Inc. and as an environmental litigator for Reed Smith LLP and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. He is a member of the Denver Cannabis Sustainability Working Group and the national advisory board for Headcount’s Cannabis Voter Project. He also serves as CSR mentor to Canopy Boulder, a venture fund and business accelerator in the cannabis and hemp space.

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