Despite the continued federal classification of cannabis as an illegal drug, states have legalized the possession, use, production, and sale of cannabis. In order to do so, the states have created complex regulatory schemes to control and monitor the cannabis industry and satisfy the federal government concerns, such as use by minors and organized crime involvement. First, this Article presents the ethical dilemma of cannabis lawyering. Second, this Article describes the history, evolution, and current status of the various states’ pronouncements on a lawyer’s ethical duties with respect to the business and use of cannabis that may be legal under state law but illegal under federal law. Third, this Article briefly discusses the remaining dangers and concerns surrounding a cannabis law practice. Lastly, this Article concludes by emphasizing that states should clear the path for lawyers to represent cannabis clients by implementing a policy allowing cannabis representation, as such policies not only benefit the lawyers but also benefit the states that now have cannabis programs.
Karen E. Boxx, Tiptoeing Through the Landmines: The Evolution of States’ Legal Ethics Authority Regarding Representing Cannabis Clients, 43 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 935 (2020).
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