Cannabis-ness be my Client? Weeding out Ethical Issues when Advising Clients in the Marijuana Industry

NOBIC - Board Room

The current legal status of marijuana in the United States can leave anyone dazed and confused. In many states, “legal” marijuana businesses are thriving – despite the fact that possessing, growing, distributing and prescribing marijuana is still “illegal” under federal criminal law. Most, if not all, of these businesses seek highly specialized legal counsel for advice and assistance with regard to entity formation, intellectual property protection, tax, banking, regulatory compliance, and everything in between. But, lawyers must not “counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal.” Is it possible to resolve the tension and ethically represent cannabis clients? Sure. It just takes a little bit of know-how (and an appetite for risk).