A committee that advises members of the State Bar of South Dakota has issued an opinion that advises attorneys to not characterize 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 basic election.

Voters overwhelmingly approved South Dakota Measure 26, a poll initiative to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana, with practically 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.

In keeping with the State Bar publication, the passage of the poll measure has prompted inquiries into the moral concerns 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 consumer to have interaction, or help a consumer, in conduct the lawyer is aware of is prison or fraudulent, however lawyer could focus on the authorized penalties of any proposed course of conduct with a consumer and should counsel or help a consumer to make a superb religion effort to find out the validity, scope, that means or software of the legislation.”

Hashish Nonetheless Unlawful Below Federal Legislation

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

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

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

Though the opinion advises attorneys to not characterize hashish companies, it does notice that legal professionals could advise a consumer who’s contemplating taking such a plan of action and the authorized ramifications of doing so.

“Lawyer could solely advise a consumer contemplating this plan of action concerning the potential authorized penalties of doing so, below both state or federal legislation, or help the consumer in making a superb religion effort to find out the validity, scope, that means, or software of the related state and federal legislation,” 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 workplaces in 16 states which have legalized hashish had revised the foundations for representing cannabis-related shoppers.