Over the last year we have discussed a lot of the challenges facing states with medical marijuana laws. Who can get approved to use the drug? How can they get it? And how will pot’s new legal status affect employers? Now there is a new wrinkle. Lawyers in Hawaii have been told they are not allowed to help companies trying to get a license to run the state’s first medical marijuana dispensaries.
To be clear… medical marijuana is legal in Hawaii, so are the dispensaries that will start opening soon. Lawyers are allowed to give legal advice on Act 241- which established the statewide medical marijuana retail dispensary system. But the moment they help a client do the legal dance needed to actually open a medical marijuana business, the Disciplinary Board of the Hawaii Supreme Court says they would be prompting illegal activity on the federal scale… an action the formal opinion says they must avoid.
Confused yet? You are not alone. In fact, 25 lawyers have already asked the disciplinary board to reconsider. It’s not clear if they will reconsider. In the meantime, the 13,000 Hawaii residents who are registered to use medical marijuana must buy the drug illegally or grown their own.
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