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On January 1, 2018, California became the largest state-legal adult use cannabis market in the country, after having led the way with the legalization of medical cannabis more than two decades earlier. This raises a critical question: can lawyers ethically provide full representation to clients in the cannabis industry, given the continuing illegality of cannabis under federal law? Coincidentally, the California Supreme Court adopted new Rules of Professional Conduct effective November 1, 2018, and as part of that process it addressed the ethics of cannabis lawyering. Using the new California Rules as a starting point, the faculty will address the attempts around the country to define the permissible scope of cannabis lawyering.
Professor Francis J. Mootz III of the McGeorge School of Law of the University of the Pacific will join with Dean A. Rocco and Ian A. Stewart, partners and chairs of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP’s cannabis practice group, the first full-service, national firm to launch a cannabis practice group, to discuss these issues. They will address ethical cannabis lawyering in its broadest sense, including:
- Is cannabis lawyering illegal under federal law?
- Is cannabis lawyering unethical under the Rules of Professional Conduct?
- Is cannabis lawyering imprudent, given difficulties such as the potential waiver of the attorney client privilege under the federal crime-fraud exception?
- Is cannabis lawyering impossible given related banking concerns for the industry and attorneys providing services to it?
Participants in this One-Hour Briefing are entitled to a 35% discount off PLI’s Legal Guide to the Business of Marijuana.