New Partner Spotlight: Michelle Bodian

Mar 29, 2023

Vicente LLP recently announced our new rebranding and that six of our top attorneys were elevated to partners. We’re proud to share a little more about our exceptional colleagues in this special New Partner Spotlight series, starting with Michelle Bodian

Michelle is co-chair of the firm’s national Hemp and Cannabinoids Department and a leading member of the firm’s cannabis licensing and regulatory compliance efforts in Connecticut and New York. She also leads the firm’s Environment, Health & Safety practice group, and is recognized as one of “Boston’s Top Lawyers” by Boston magazine.

What practice areas do you focus on day to day? 

I wear several different hats, but all share the common theme of cannabis and hemp regulatory advice. I specialize in the nuances of hemp and cannabinoid law, in particular tracking and monitoring all 50 states’ laws and regulations around the sale of cannabinoid hemp products. In addition, I also counsel clients on New York and Connecticut licensing, regulatory, and compliance matters. Lastly, I provide licensing, regulatory and compliance advice around environmental, health, and safety issues. 

What is your attorney style? 

I tend to lean heavily into the legal counsel role by presenting not only letter of the law, but also practical business advice. More so than in other industries, with so many ‘yet to be knowns’ in the cannabis and hemp regulatory space, my role often includes providing a risk analysis based upon limited available information.  

What about your past work experience helps your current legal practice? 

As a former state regulator, I have a unique perspective and understanding of state regulatory frameworks. I can look beyond the white and black of the written rule and work collaboratively with state and federal regulators. 

What is one of your top Vicente client accomplishments? 

There are too many to choose from, but certainly anytime a client is successful at obtaining a cannabis license, whether it’s a lab license, grow or retail, I am proud to have assisted with the application. 

What is one client service or product you are proud to offer? 

While I can’t take credit for the original idea, I am proud to have perfected our state-by-state hemp product guides. The changing regulatory landscape of both intoxicating and non-intoxicating hemp cannabinoid products makes it difficult for businesses to have a national sales distribution strategy. Our guides make it easy for business to digest the regulatory framework and plan their distribution and sales strategy. These guides are updated in real time and available to our clients on a subscription model. 

Where will the big opportunities be in 2023? 

For cannabis, the entire east coast is posed to develop in 2023. While a number of east coast markets passed adult-use laws, many are only now implementing those laws. I am most excited for New York and Connecticut. There are other huge medical-focused markets, such as Pennsylvania, that have a real shot at adult-use legalization in the near future, too. 

For hemp related products, the dominating topic and product line of interest continues to be intoxicating hemp products. With FDA not providing a regulatory pathway for CBD, all eyes are on Congress to see whether the 2023 Farm Bill will address hemp-derived finished products and/or whether there will be any standalone hemp cannabinoid bills. In the meantime, states have had a flurry of activity advancing bills and passing regulations and policies addressing intoxicating and/or synthetic cannabinoids. The state-by-state patchwork of hemp regulation will continue to be a big development in 2023. 

Contact Michelle to discuss how she and her team may be of assistance, and stay tuned for our next post in this series about Vicente LLP’s 2023 new partner class. 

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