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South Dakota State Bar Advises Legal professionals Not To Symbolize Authorized Pot Corporations | Excessive Instances


A committee that advises members of the State Bar of South Dakota has issued an opinion that advises attorneys to not symbolize shoppers who plan to supply or promote hashish within the state. The opinion, which was revealed within the January 2021 version of the group’s newsletter, follows the approval of two state marijuana legalization measures within the November common election.

Voters overwhelmingly approved South Dakota Measure 26, a poll initiative to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana, with almost 70% of votes forged. One other measure to legalize hashish to be used by adults, South Dakota Modification A, additionally prevailed on the poll field with greater than 54% of the vote. Below Modification A, adults 21 and older are permitted to own and distribute as much as one ounce of marijuana.

Based on the State Bar e-newsletter, the passage of the poll measure has prompted inquiries into the moral issues of representing shoppers “about licensing and different authorized points associated to establishing, licensing, or in any other case working a enterprise to distribute or dispense marijuana.”

To reply the query, the committee cited the South Dakota Guidelines of Skilled Conduct, noting that Rule 1.2(d) states {that a} “lawyer shall not counsel a shopper to interact, or help a shopper, in conduct the lawyer is aware of is prison or fraudulent, however lawyer might focus on the authorized penalties of any proposed course of conduct with a shopper and should counsel or help a shopper to make a great religion effort to find out the validity, scope, that means or software of the regulation.”

Hashish Nonetheless Unlawful Below Federal Regulation

The committee famous that whereas the 2 poll measures handed by voters legalize marijuana under South Dakota state law, “manufacturing, distributing, or allotting marijuana, or possessing marijuana desiring to do any of the foregoing, stay unlawful underneath federal regulation.”

The opinion discovered that the rule “doesn’t distinguish between shopper conduct that’s unlawful underneath South Dakota regulation and shopper conduct that’s unlawful solely underneath federal regulation. It applies to any unlawful shopper conduct.” 

Consequently, attorneys “might not ethically present authorized providers to help a shopper in establishing, licensing, or in any other case working a marijuana enterprise,” the opinion continues. 

Though the opinion advises attorneys to not symbolize hashish companies, it does be aware that legal professionals might advise a shopper who’s contemplating taking such a plan of action and the authorized ramifications of doing so.

“Lawyer might solely advise a shopper contemplating this plan of action in regards to the potential authorized penalties of doing so, underneath both state or federal regulation, or help the shopper in making a great religion effort to find out the validity, scope, that means, or software of the related state and federal regulation,” the committee’s opinion states.

In 2017, the American Bar Affiliation revealed a memo advising attorneys that representing marijuana companies “presents an issue for legal professionals as they advise their shoppers within the sale and use of marijuana.” The memo additionally famous that as of the time of its publication, the lawyer disciplinary places of work in 16 states which have legalized hashish had revised the foundations for representing cannabis-related shoppers.