New Mexico Lawyers Warned About Medical Marijuana Clients

The New Mexico State Bar Association is cautioning local attorneys about representing medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries, warning they could be violating state rules of professional conduct.

An opinion issued last week by the association’s Ethics Advisory Committee isn’t binding. But it could make some lawyers think twice about representing marijuana-touching businesses, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican. That, in turn, could hamper some MMJ businesses.

The bar association’s ethics committee took up the issue after one anonymous attorney asked whether lawyers who represent licensed marijuana businesses in the state would be in compliance with the state’s code of conduct.

The committee’s opinion said that negotiating contracts for the purchase of cannabis would be tantamount to helping a client break a federal law. But the committee also opined that helping a client set up an alternative medical business “that could possibly include the prescribing and distributing of medical cannabis would not be such assistance,” according to the New Mexican.

The decision comes just a few days after the Ohio Supreme Court’s Board or Professional Conduct issued a non-binding opinion saying lawyers who represent marijuana-touching businesses would be helping clients break federal laws and thereby would be violating the state’s code of professional attorney conduct.

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2 comments on “New Mexico Lawyers Warned About Medical Marijuana Clients
  1. Gregory P. Miller on

    It’s already affected the way I do business. My NM lawyers cut me off last week. What happens if I need legal representation on something as mundane as a property line dispute? If the fact that I am state-legal canna-businesses can be tied into something that should be solved in court, the other side gets a lawyer and don’t.
    Basically, I am denied use of the local and state courts, for a state legal business that DOJ has told the states they won’t prosecute for, because DOJ has reserved the right to prosecute. It makes perfect legal sense (IANAL) but it’s Catch 22 all over again.

  2. seesoclearly on

    Sounds more like a real estate licensee should have that restriction on aiding and abetting when the handle a rental to set up shop. But you can be comforted that rapists and child molesters can still have representation. Amazing that the ugga booga of pot scares the so called ‘ethics committee’ while allowing attorneys to represent the most vile of criminals that everyone knows are guilty. The anti pot people can no longer fight public acceptance for legalization so they are going in the back door with things like this with the so called ‘ethics’ concerns to deny the industry legal services, banks refusing to accept money or here in CA the squeeze on water usage and gov wanting to monitor water use even from private wells.

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