PHOENIX (KGUN9-TV) - The Arizona State Bar's committee on the rules of professional conduct has issued an opinion concerning the state's new medical marijuana law. Voters passed the initiative in November 2010.
Wednesday's opinion says that lawyers may assist clients in complying with the law. The committee evaluated the issue because of the conflict between Federal and State law regarding marijuana use.
The specific ethical issue that arose prohibits a lawyer from counseling or assisting a client in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent.
The newly released opinion says Arizona lawyers may assist clients when:
The client requests assistance for actions expressly permitted by the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act;
The lawyer advises the client about the potential implications and consequences of federal law (or recommends client seek proper guidance); and
The client knowingly decides to move forward with full knowledge of conflicting federal law.
Arizona's bar cites the opinion noting no court opinion has held that Arizona's law is invalid or unenforceable and that the federal government has essentially carved out a safe harbor for some conduct that is in "clear and unambiguous compliance" with Arizona law.
Any future court ruling that affects the medical marijuana act may also change Wednesday's ethical opinion.
Feb 23, 2011
Full text of decision attached
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AZ State Bar issues opinion on the ethical issues of medical marijuana