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Ethics for Cannabis Attorneys – Navigating Ethical Dilemmas in Cannabis Law

On June 27, 2024, Partner Jack Sousa led a NBI webinar titled, “Ethics for Cannabis Attorneys – Navigating Ethical Dilemmas in Cannabis Law.” The webinar covered five core topics: (1) the conflicts between federal law and New York and Connecticut state laws; (2) ethical considerations when accepting attorney’s fees from cannabis businesses; (3) ethical risks associated with attorney ownership in cannabis businesses; (4) ethical considerations in connection with attorney use of cannabis products; and (5) best practices in marketing and advertising cannabis products.

Jack provided a comprehensive overview of the prospective rescheduling of cannabis from a Schedule I substance to a Schedule III substance under the Controlled Substances Act and Model Rule 1.2(d). While detailing the relevance of Model Rule 1.2(d), Jack explained its application with respect to an attorney’s scope of representation, avoiding assisting clients in criminal conduct and the good faith exception to the rule. The topics addressing fees and attorney ownership delved into the ethical considerations in connection with accepting fees from cannabis clients, such as the sources of those funds, banking and insurance considerations, and when conflicts of interest may arise when an attorney takes equity in a cannabis company. Jack also provided practical guidance on navigating marketing and advertising rules for attorneys and cannabis-industry businesses, in addition to providing best practices on engagement letters for cannabis clients.

To learn more about the webinar and related resources, please click here.

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