COLLECT $43 NOW No DEPOSIT
COLLECT $43 NOW No DEPOSIT
LOS ANGELES Just as entrepreneurs entering the retail pot industry want a good lawyer, a few of those lawyers may well be wise to refer to an attorney in their own.
Lawyers within the burgeoning business are entering a legal gray zone where the drug is allowed for some purpose in most states but illegal under federal law within the same controlled substances category as heroin. Missteps could lead on to prosecution for conspiracy, money laundering or aiding and abetting drug dealers.
Any lawyer that goes into this could bear in mind that a literal reading of federal law permits the sort of prosecution, said Sam Kamin, a school of Denver marijuana policy law professor, whose research five years ago found lawyers more liable to being disbarred than criminally charged for cannabis-related work. It probably is sensible for a lawyer to a minimum of check with a legal ethicist or get an opinion from a legal ethicist.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated his opposition to legal weed on Wednesday, and a congressional amendment prohibiting federal prosecutors from targeting medical marijuana is due to run out on the end of the year.
Sessions has not said if he’ll reverse a longstanding Justice Department policy to not interfere with purveyors complying with state laws but to focus prosecutions on trafficking, sales to minors, cartels and gangs within the business, violence or gun use in cultivation or distribution, and pot grown on public land.
Despite a couple of instances of lawyers being prosecuted in federal and state court including a pending San Diego County case more attorneys are jumping into cannabis law. Legal needs range from financing to permits, real estate, water law, intellectual property, contracts and banking.
With California allowing recreational pot retail sales Jan. 1, interested investors are reaching out to attorneys like Mitch Kulick to determine easy methods to safely finance the possibly lucrative industry.
Kulick, a brand new York lawyer who offers his expertise in lots of states, recently gave his typical scare spiel to an actual estate magnate concerning the possible legal consequences, and said he could only help mitigate risk so much.
At a definite point, you must realize that is a crime. Theres no insurance coverage to remove the risk, Kulick said he told the person. If I USED TO BE already a billionaire, I’D not be taking the risk.
Kulick, who once worked as a lawyer for the Securities and Exchange Commission and a tremendous international firm, needed to do an identical risk analysis and soul searching before deciding to decide to the upper cause, so that you can speak.
There was a tipping point for lots of lawyers putting in place boutique pot law firms and jumping from old-school law firms as demand for his or her services trumps fear of legal repercussions and the stoner stigma fades as more states legalize marijuana use.
Attorney Chris Davis, who grew up in Berkeley around family and friends who use the drug, found people operating within the shadows who desired to go legit when he returned to California from Ny two years ago.
So many of us were asking methods to go legal and the way to fret less, said Davis, executive director of the National Cannabis Bar Association, which has about 300 members within the U.S. and Canada and is growing rapidly. It became impossible to show people away.
Lawyers that specialize in the business see themselves on the frontier. That leaves a captivating opportunity to shape laws and regulations and the daunting prospect of the unknown.
Lawyers like things to be settled, Davis said. Its hard to get a lawyer to offer you a yes or no answer. Within the cannabis industry, there really isn’t any yes or no answer.
Some state bar associations have given lawyers cover to counsel marijuana clients throughout the bounds of state law. Others say federal law keeps the realm off-limits because ethical rules prevent them from helping clients commit crimes.
Attorney Larry Donahue had several medical marijuana clients at his firm in Albuquerque, New Mexico, until the state bar issued a January 2016 opinion that said lawyers may well be exposed to ethics charges for such work. Donahue needed to terminate four or five clients.
It was an excessively chilling opinion, he said. It basically scared the hell out of us.
While prosecutions of attorneys are rare, a case in San Diego has gotten the eye of many lawyers, mainly as a result of aggressive tactics employed by the district attorney.
Attorney Jessica McElfresh was charged with several felonies alleging she helped a shopper hide evidence of marijuana manufacturing.
The case may need received less notice if prosecutors didnt unsuccessfully attempt to get across the sacrosanct lawyer-client privilege and seek communications with all her marijuana clients.
McElfresh, who vehemently denies the charges, said she knew that specialize in pot law carried risks, but she couldnt foresee in one million years police raiding her house. She and her boyfriend and mother were escorted into her backyard, where she was handcuffed barefoot in her pajamas in the course of the search.
She said she didnt take the hazards some lawyers do by sitting at the boards of a clients company, owning a share in a business or introducing clients to 1 another.
I am one of the conservative and boring people you could possibly ever meet in cannabis law, she said. The only way I’LL has been more careful would has been to not engage on this area of law at all.
A new district attorney took office after McElfresh was charged and allowed five co-defendants facing similar charges to plead guilty last month to misdemeanors and get probation.
The San Diego district attorneys office wouldnt comment, but in a press release cited the recreational pot law glided by voters last year and the brand new administrations changing focus as a part of the cause of the plea deals. Its not clear if that vary will affect McElfreshs pending case.
[Source: The Cannabist]