Ohio Supreme Court Weighs MMJ Rule Change for Lawyers

The Ohio Supreme Court signaled Wednesday it might rewrite its ethics rules to permit lawyers in the state to help medical marijuana businesses, a move that would no doubt be welcomed by MMJ entrepreneurs and attorneys.

Earlier this month, the state supreme court’s Board of Professional Conduct issued a non-binding but influential advisory opinion warning that lawyers who counsel cannabis-touching business clients would be violating federal law and thereby its rules of conduct.

Some observers feared attorneys would avoid counseling legitimate marijuana businesses, depriving them of legal representation.

On Wednesday, court officials directed staffers to draft an amendment to the rules of conduct, according to Cleveland.com.

“Although non-binding, the court is aware that the advisory opinion has led some lawyers to question whether they can assist clients in complying with the new law,” Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said in a statement. “The court hopes to act expeditiously in addressing their concerns and, if necessary, amend ethics rules to clarify the role of attorneys in light of the new law.”

If the high court approves new rules, they would be put out for public comment before taking effect, Clevelalnd.com reported.

Ohio’s medical marijuana program is set to launch Sept. 8.