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Court Gives Attorneys Green Light to Advise Medical Marijuana Industry Clients

Ohio Marijuana Law

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that attorneys can counsel medical marijuana clients. This comes after a non-binding advisory was issued stating that attorneys could not advise medical marijuana businesses or patients because marijuana is still federally illegal. Amendments were made to the existing law to clarify the language.

The new language reads, “A lawyer may counsel or assist a client regarding conduct expressly permitted under Sub.H.B. 523 of the 131st General Assembly authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes and any state statutes, rules, orders, or other provisions implementing the act. In these circumstances, the lawyer shall advise the client regarding related federal law,” according to Cleveland.com.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor sped up the rule change because of the uncertainty in Ohio and federal law. Although medical marijuana became legal in Ohio on September 8, it may take up to two years to get dispensaries up and running. Ohioans can qualify under 20 medical conditions to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.

O’Connor said, “Ohio attorneys seeking guidance needed to know the do’s and don’ts as quickly as possible.”

Attorney Thomas Haren pushed the question. He claims to be happy with the rule change. He said, “The only time that we may still have a gray area is on the margins where a client asks an attorney to determine whether something is permitted under the law and it’s not clear.”

Two issues not addressed in the new ruling were disciplining attorneys for using medical marijuana and working in or owning medical marijuana businesses.