Lawyers, Casinos Raise Medical Pot Concerns
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The Nevada Supreme Court is considering a rule change allowing lawyers to advise clients about medical marijuana issues without running afoul of professional conduct standards.
Medical marijuana is legal in Nevada and the process is underway to license dispensaries, cultivation operations and kitchens to make edible pot products.
But marijuana is still illegal under federal law, which causes a dilemma for attorneys.
A Nevada State Bar Association rule forbids lawyers from advising a client to break the law. Both private and public agency lawyers have asked the state bar for guidance on whether they could face disciplinary action for representing medical marijuana clients.
An amendment to be considered Tuesday by the court specifies a lawyer isn’t in violation of conduct rules if an activity is specifically allowed by state law.
Meantime, Nevada gambling regulators have issued a notice to casino operators advising them against investing in the state’s nascent medical marijuana industry.
Gaming Control Board member Terry Johnson sent a memo Tuesday reminding licensees that while the state has legalized dispensaries, federal law still prohibits manufacturing and distributing marijuana.
Johnson says that unless federal law changes, it could discredit the state’s gambling industry if a casino licensee gets involved in the medical marijuana business.
It was unclear whether the board would discipline licensees who get involved in both industries. Officials with the Gaming Control Board were not immediately available for comment Tuesday morning.
M Resort CEO Anthony Marnell has invested in a company that is seeking a Clark County medical marijuana license. An M spokeswoman couldn’t immediately comment on the notice.
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