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The Ethics of Cannabis Law

Ethics Credits
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The ethical considerations around the representation of cannabis clients, and the handling of cannabis-related claims and litigation, are complex and evolving. Lawyers who wish to counsel and assist clients in the space must determine whether specific work for cannabis clients is legal, ethical and/or prudent.

This presentation will identify ethical scenarios that have confronted attorneys in this space. In addition to analyzing the current state of the federal/state standoff on marijuana and the prospect for federal reform, we will discuss strategies used by industry participants to mitigate risk. We will address how the courts have tried to reconcile enforcing the rights of cannabis-related claimants and litigants in both state and federal courts.

We will identify how the various states have interpreted Model Rule 1.2, and how they have distinguished between counseling and actively assisting cannabis clients. We will discuss relevant state ethics opinions, modification to states’ ethical rules and state policies that limit disciplinary action around work in the cannabis space.

Other specific ethical issues important to cannabis lawyers will also be addressed, including disclosure of effective professional liability insurance, protection of the lawyer client privilege, the crime fraud exception, client trust accounts, accepting stock/equity in lieu of fees and required disclosures to the client, among other topics.

Lecturer Bio

Ian A. Stewart, Esq.

Ian is founder and co-chair of the Cannabis and Hemp Law practice at Wilson Elser, where he leads a national multi-disciplinary team of lawyers who serve all aspects of the cannabis and hemp industries, as well as financial institutions and insurance companies that service those industries.

Ian has been named to the prestigious Chambers USA 2020 and 2021 guide in Cannabis Law. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the International Cannabis Bar Association (INCBA) and participates on the Policy Council of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). Ian is on the Executive Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Cannabis Section and is the former chair of NCIA’s Risk Management and Insurance Committee.

He is one of MG Magazine’s “30 Powerful Cannabis Attorneys You Should Know” and is named in Cannabis Reports’ list of “10 Powerful Marijuana Lawyers in California.” Ian received a 2019 Readers’ Choice Award by JD Supra for his publication on cannabis consumer class actions, and received National Law Review’s award as “Go-To Thought Leader 2018” for his publications on cannabis law.

Attorneys may earn all 15 Arizona CLE credits from the National Academy of Continuing Legal Education. Our online courses satisfy the STATE BAR OF ARIZONA REGULATIONS “Interactive CLE” definition. To view our full accreditation details, please click here.

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