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On Demand

Legal Ethics and State Marijuana Laws Update

1h 33m

Created on April 20, 2017



It seems that states are legalizing various levels of usage of marijuana left and right. Given the conflict between federal and state marijuana laws, however, questions abound about whether lawyers may ethically advise and assist clients in complying with their state’s marijuana laws, or whether they would be running afoul of state and federal ethical rules governing lawyers’ conduct were they to do so. While a handful of states have weighed in on the subject, the majority of state bar associations and ethics committees have remained silent on the issue. Thus, it is imperative that lawyers in states with medical or recreational marijuana laws proceed with caution when contemplating advising or assisting a potential client on issues involving state medical or recreational marijuana laws.

Join attorney Ameer Benno for an update to his extremely popular course discussing the ethical landscape for lawyers working with clients on marijuana-related issues. Here, he discusses conclusions reached by the various state bars that have considered this evolving issue. Additionally, he explores lawyers’ personal exposure under far-reaching federal civil and criminal laws such as conspiracy, asset seizure and forfeiture, and even money laundering.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Understand conflict between federal and state laws on the issue of legalization of medical and recreational marijuana
  2. Identify the relevant federal criminal and civil statutes that may be implicated by assisting with marijuana-related businesses
  3. Recognize and discuss federal enforcement priorities under the Controlled Substances Act
  4. Address the ABA’s Model Rules 1.2 and 8.4
  5. Survey the decisions of the various state bar associations and ethical committees that have considered the legal ethics of advising or assisting clients in complying with their state’s marijuana laws in the face of federal marijuana prohibition

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