Attorneys who represent clients in the medical cannabis industry are concerned they might face discipline under a state Supreme Court directive that appears to put federal law in conflict with state law.
The directive, which took effect July 1, says attorneys cannot participate in — or advise clients how to participate in — acts that are illegal under federal law but legal under state law. Medical cannabis is illegal under federal law but was approved by Missouri voters in 2018.
Attorney Dan Viets, of Columbia, who represents medical cannabis clients, said he recently asked the state Supreme Court Advisory Committee whether he could be disciplined under the directive, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Viets said attorneys drafting the 2018 constitutional amendment legalizing medical cannabis anticipated the conflict and included protections in the amendment’s text for attorneys working in the legal cannabis industry.
The Missouri amendment says, in part: “An attorney shall not be subject to disciplinary action by the state bar association or other professional licensing body for owning, operating, investing in, being employed by, contracting with, or providing legal assistance to prospective or licensed” medical cannabis businesses.
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