New Jersey Dispensary in Labor Dispute Turned Away By Law Firm

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Some attorneys still won’t touch the cannabis industry, it seems.

David Knowlton, co-founder of the Compassionate Care Foundation dispensary in New Jersey, is slated to appear in court this week to defend his business against allegations that it has engaged in anti-unionization practices, But he’ll do so without the help of lawyer, according to

One Philadelphia firm offered pro bono help when the case began, but later changed its mind “out of concern its attorneys could face ethics charges and put their licenses at risk,” the site reported, because cannabis is still illegal under federal law.

That leaves Knowlton having to represent himself in a case against the National Labor Relations Board and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, even though the board recommended at an earlier hearing that he hire a lawyer.

That’s how Knowlton heard of the Philadelphia firm, but he stopped looking for an attorney after the firm declined to take the case, figuring other attorneys would give the same response.

Meanwhile, a group of New Jersey attorneys is attempting to get the state Supreme Court to adjust the ethical rules of conduct for lawyers so those in the profession can represent cannabis companies without fear of professional reprisals.