AZ high court says no to letting lawyers help cannabis clients

Arizona’s Supreme Court rejected a bid to repeal rules that threaten lawyers with disbarment if they help marijuana-related clients including businesses, a move that could have big implications if the state’s voters approve an initiative to legalize adult-use cannabis.

Arizona-based Capitol Media Services reported the high court dismissed without comment a petition to permit lawyers to help clients possess, buy or sell cannabis under the state’s voter-approved medical marijuana law.

The decision effectively affirms rules that bar lawyers from aiding clients “in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal,” Capitol Media Services reported. The possession, use and sale of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Arizona residents in November will vote on Proposition 205, an initiative to legalize adult-use cannabis. If approved, the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision could make it harder for attorneys to help marijuana entrepreneurs who want to establish and operate a recreational cannabis business.

A new poll shows that roughly half of Arizona voters are likely to support Proposition 205.

The Arizona Supreme Court’s decision comes a week after after Ohio’s Supreme Court proposed rewriting its ethics rules to allow lawyers to help medical marijuana companies under the state’s new MMJ program.



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2 comments on “AZ high court says no to letting lawyers help cannabis clients
  1. Cactus Bill on

    The fact that MMJ was voted in by Arizona’s unique amalgam of citizenry amazed me. That was directly in conflict with the otherwise ultra Conservative bent of this state.
    Therefore it is unsurprising that the AZ Supremes would rule the way they did.
    If the so called “recreational” initiative wins the vote, the entire thing becomes moot.
    Maybe that’s their plan.
    BTW I hate that word in this particular context – do we say “recreational beer”?)

  2. Thomas Dean on

    This should not upset the decision of the State Bar allowing attorneys to counsel and represent clients in the industry. The State Bar reached it’s decision after myself, Lee Phillips (Flagstaff) and a handful of other attorneys in Arizona, California and Colorado formed Arizona Attorneys for Sensible Marijuana Laws and aggressively lobbied the State Bar, including submitting an opinion from former Bar Counsel Bob Van Wyck and another nationally recognized Bar Counsel.

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