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Erik Drost

The Ohio Supreme Court has directed its staff to write a draft amendment to the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct that would permit attorneys to help establish medical marijuana businesses in the state, Cleveland.com reports.

Last week, the court’s Board of Professional Conduct issued a non-binding opinion effectively barring attorneys from working with marijuana businesses, and from participating as patients in the program. The opinion suggests that the “personal use of medical marijuana…may adversely reflect on a lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, and overall fitness to practice law.”  

“Although non-binding, the court is aware that the advisory opinion has led some lawyers to question whether they can assist clients in complying with the new law,” Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said the report. “The court hopes to act expeditiously in addressing their concerns and, if necessary, amend ethics rules to clarify the role of attorneys in light of the new law.”

The amendment proposal will be subject to public comment before being adopted.

“Again, the Court intends to act as swiftly as possible,” Chief Justice O’Connor said in a statement. “However, we do not want to rush the process to the point of creating additional problems.”

Ethics panels in 24 others states with medical cannabis programs have ultimately allowed attorney involvement in the industry, with many having to update their professional rules.

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