"Which is worse? The wolf who cries before eating the lamb or the wolf who does not."— Leo Tolstoy

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Is Medical Marijuana Hazardous to a Lawyer's "Health"?

This is a question asked by the Arizona State Bar in what can only be interpreted as a veiled threat to lawyer's planning to represent medical marijuana dispensaries in business formation and regulatory matters following the passage of Prop 203. Even before Prop 203 passed, legalizing the use of medical marijuana there was a lot of activity among lawyers who planned to represent the new medical marijuana dispensaries in business formation and regulatory issues. An upcoming CLE Ethics Seminar contains the following topic: "Why medical marijuana may be hazardous to a lawyer's “health.

The underlying premise is that because distribution of marijuana is still illegal under Federal law, attorneys who assist dispensaries in business and regulatory matters may be enabling an illegal enterprise and therefore subject to Bar discipline, even though the operation of the dispensary be legal under State law. That, at least, was the conclusion of a recent Ethics Opinion issued this past July by the Professional Ethics Commisison of the Maine Board of Bar Overseers (as in Antebellum overseers?). See Opinion #199. Advising clients concerning Maine’s Medical Marijuana Act.

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