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    BUSINESS LAW:  Considerations Before Taking on a Cannabusiness Client

    Posted by Cassidy Crockett-Verba on Tue, Mar 5, 2024 @ 13:03 PM

    The Lawletter Vol. 49 No. 1

    Cassidy Crockett—Senior Attorney

          Many lawyers believe that advising a cannabis business, or cannabusiness, is the same as advising any other business. However, there are several considerations to take into account before taking on these clients.

    Legal Ethics

          Attorneys know that ABA Model Rule 1.2(d) forbids attorneys from counselling or assisting clients in criminal conduct. While many states have either modified this rule or issued opinions exempting cannabis businesses, some still consider it an ethics violation to work with these businesses. In 2021, the Georgia Supreme Court denied a motion by the state bar to amend this rule to allow attorneys to engage with the newly legalized low-THC medical cannabis program. In re Motion to Amend 2021-3 (Ga. June 21, 2021). As long as cannabis remains a federally illicit substance, the first step that any attorney looking to engage with a cannabusiness client should take is to check their state ethics rules before proceeding.

    Regulatory Compliance

         Cannabis laws are changing very quickly across the country, but cannabis regulations change even faster. While in most states, new laws take effect on a specified date, regulations can take effect and change throughout the year. It may also be warranted in some cases to attend agency hearings as well if the attorney is engaged in the permitting process. It is imperative that attorneys working with the cannabis industry familiarize themselves with their state’s administrative process, relevant agencies, and the administrative code.

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    Topics: business law, federal regulations, cannabusiness

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