The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has modified its Rules of Professional Conduct to allow attorneys to work with medical marijuana clients without fearing action from the state Disciplinary Board, according to the report by the Legal Intelligencer.
“We can relax,” Andrew Sacks of Sacks Weston Diamond, who pushed for the rule change, said in the report. “It’s a happy day for Pennsylvania lawyers.”
According to the new rules, attorneys “may counsel or assist a client regarding conduct expressly permitted by Pennsylvania law, provided that the lawyer counsels the client about the legal consequences, under other applicable law, of the client’s proposed course of conduct.”
However, as is the case in other states with legal cannabis programs, some risk remains for lawyers due to federal law.
“Us lawyers are still violating federal law,” Sacks said. “We’re aiding and abetting.”
William G. Roark, of Hamburg, Rubin, Maxwell & Lupin said that the rule changes make it “easier for every firm” to operate without a “fog of uncertainty,” but that medical marijuana laws and regulations are complex.
“What I hope doesn’t happen is that the amended rule is now going to be an invitation or incentive for people to get in over their head in this arena without being capable of doing everything this entails,” he said.
The decision from the court follows the draft rules for the program released last week by the state Health Department.
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