St. Mary's Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics

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St. Mary's University School of Law

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With many firms practicing in multiple states, a lawyer could represent a marijuana dispensary in a legalized state while practicing in a state, like Texas, which continues to criminalize the drug. This raises a question of whether Texas attorneys who make the bold attempt to assist a company that sells marijuana violate the rules of professional responsibility.

In Section II, this Comment examines the background of the criminalization of marijuana and looks into the movement to liberalize the laws surrounding it. Section III analyzes the rules of professional conduct in Texas and in Colorado to determine what a lawyer in each jurisdiction may and may not do. Finally, Sections IV and V scrutinize various propositions that have been made regarding legal practice on behalf of marijuana dispensaries and make a recommendation to Texas attorneys and law firms who consider practicing for marijuana producers and distributors in Colorado.

Ultimately, this Comment concludes Texas lawyers should not fear ethical violations by engaging marijuana companies as clients. This Comment proposes the Texas State Bar should not initiate action against an attorney who represents a company that is legal in another state.