Lawyers, Marijuana, and Ethics


As state marijuana lawyers have dramatically changed in recent years, more and more lawyers have asked state ethics authorities for guidance about how these changes in the legal landscape impact the ethical obligations of and limitations on lawyers. May lawyers in a state that has decriminalized marijuana, for example, advise and assist clients engaged in marijuana-related businesses such as growing, distribution, or selling marijuana in conformity with state law? Some state supreme courts have amended their ethics rules specifically to answer such questions. In other states, ethics authorities such as the state bar have issued opinions addressing them. In still other states, ethics authorities have yet to provide any guidance at all. We review the guidance state ethics authorities have offered so far to their lawyers about how to practice ethically under the new marijuana regimes found now in more than half of the American states.


legal ethics, professional responsibility, marijuana, advic

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32 Criminal Justice 29 (Spring 2017)

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