Pubdate: Tue, 05 Jul 2016
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Copyright: 2016 Dayton Daily News


Ohio Supreme Court Board Asked to Weigh In.

Attorneys are asking whether Ohio's new medical marijuana law that 
bars employers from disciplining professionals from working with 
marijuana businesses applies to them.

Lawyers have submitted at least two requests for formal opinions on 
the matter to the state Supreme Court's Board of Professional 
Conduct. Only the state's high court can discipline licensed attorneys.

Attorneys want to know whether lawyers can use medical marijuana, own 
or operate medical marijuana businesses and represent marijuana 
cultivators, processors, dispensaries, patients and caregivers. The 
new medical marijuana law bars professional license holders from 
being disciplined "solely for engaging in professional or 
occupational activities related to medical marijuana."

The law also allows employers to fire workers who are medical 
marijuana patients if they violate drug-free policies put forth by 
their employer.

State rules prohibit lawyers from knowingly assisting a client to 
break the law and from committing an illegal act that reflects 
"adversely" on the attorney's honesty or trustworthiness. Lawmakers 
have made medical marijuana legal in Ohio, but it is still illegal on 
the federal level.

Ethics panels in most of the 24 other states that have legalized 
marijuana have allowed attorney involvement in the marijuana 
industry. However, Hawaii's disciplinary board issued an opinion last 
year that attorneys could give legal advice about the state's medical 
marijuana law, but couldn't provide legal services to help establish 
a marijuana business. The panel said that would be considered 
assisting a federal crime.

The Board of Professional Conduct is examining the issue and is 
expected to issue an advisory opinion in August. The state Supreme 
Court is asking lawyers with related questions to submit them by July 11.

The state is still putting together the rules and licensing network 
to allow the growth and prescribing of medical marijuana, which must 
be available in the next two years.

- - Staff Report
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom