Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 24
"It's a growing business, a growing practice area,
and it's cutting-edge," says Joshua Horn, a partner
at Fox Rothschild LLP in Philadelphia and cochair of
the firm's cannabis law practice. "When was the last
time that a lawyer could get in on the ground floor
of a burgeoning area of the law? People here at the
firm are eager to be involved. There are a lot of
WHERE CANNABIS IS LEGAL
Cannabis is derived from the cannabis plant. The
leaves, stems, flower buds, and extracts from the
cannabis plant can be smoked, eaten, and even
used to create a topical ointment.
Public opinion has changed dramatically over the
past few decades to favor legalizing the cannabis
industry. In an October 2017 Gallup poll, an unprecedented 64 percent of Americans supported legalizing cannabis. In 1969 only 12 percent of Americans
surveyed backed legalized cannabis.
Recreational cannabis has been legalized in nine
states and the District of Columbia. Some states,
such as Colorado, have authorized the cultivation
and sale of cannabis. Other jurisdictions, such as the
District, allow for its limited recreational use, but not
its sale. Twenty-nine states permit some degree of
medical marijuana use.
But there's a serious snag: it's just not legal under
Residents and visitors 21 and older can buy
an ounce of cannabis or 1/8 ounce of concentrate at one time. Cannabis is prohibited
in casinos, bars, restaurants, and other
public places. The law forbidding public
use carries a $600 fine for the first offense.
Residents 21 and older can possess up to
2.5 ounces of cannabis.
In addition, attorneys who practice cannabis law
may be violating state rules of professional conduct.
Rule 1.2(d) of the American Bar Association's Model
Rules of Professional Conduct states, in part, that a
lawyer shall not counsel or assist a client in engaging
in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent. However, some state bars have changed their
professional rules to permit lawyers to advise their
clients in the cannabis business so long as they
also explain federal law and policy. Other state bars
have issued advisory opinions on whether attorneys
violate conduct standards by helping clients navigate
the cannabis industry.
Adults 21 and over can use cannabis recreationally, and can buy, possess, transport,
and give away up to an ounce of cannabis
or 8 grams of concentrate. Individuals can
grow no more than six plants at one residence at one time. The state began issuing
temporary licenses to dispensaries late last
year, and those licenses became valid on
January 1. Businesses will be able to apply
for special licenses to host cannabis events,
such as festivals. Some cities have moved
to ban recreational sales.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Individuals 21 and over can possess two
ounces or less of cannabis and gift up to
an ounce, if neither money nor goods nor
services are exchanged.
"Our clients are potentially at risk for federal prosecution, and, depending on who you ask, so are
we," says Shabnam Malek, who practices cannabis
law in Oakland, California. "It's complicated because
the federally unlawful nature of what your clients
are doing must be at the forefront of your advice."
Adults 21 and over can possess up to one
ounce of cannabis on their person, but no
more than 5 grams of concentrate. Adults
can have up to 10 ounces of cannabis in
their home. There's a limit of six plants per
adult or 12 per household.
Adults 21 and older can legally possess one
ounce of THC, which includes concentrates,
edibles, and topicals. Individuals can
purchase up to 28 grams in a single
Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug under the
Controlled Substances Act (CSA), meaning it is considered an illicit drug with no medical value and a
high potential for abuse. It is a federal offense for
any person to knowingly or intentionally manufacture, distribute, or dispense Schedule I drugs.
24 WASHINGTON LAWYER
Adults 21 and over can use cannabis recreationally and can buy and carry up to an
ounce. Adults age 21 and over can possess,
grow, and give away as many as six plants.
Only three of the plants can be mature and
flowering at any one time.
Residents can possess up to eight ounces
of usable cannabis at home and grow up
to four plants. Residents and non-residents
can carry one ounce of usable cannabis.
Personal possession limits also include
10 seeds, 16 ounces of product in solid
form, and 72 ounces of product in liquid
form. Cannabis is available for purchase
at licensed dispensaries.
When the law takes effect on July 1,
Vermont will allow individuals 21 and over
to possess up to one ounce of cannabis
and to cultivate up to two mature and four
Individuals 21 and over can buy and
possess up to one ounce of usable
cannabis, 16 ounces of infused edibles in
solid form, 72 ounces in liquid form, and
seven grams of concentrates. Cannabis
can only be bought and sold at licensed
dispensaries. Homegrown cannabis is