Court may alter rules for legal advice about pot

The Nevada Supreme Court has set a May 6 hearing to discuss changing the rules to allow lawyers to give advice on medical marijuana issues.

According to the notice filed Thursday, the issue has been raised by a number of city and county attorneys faced with questions from clients charged with implementing regulations governing the production, processing and sale of marijuana for medical purposes. In addition, the court and State Bar Governing Board have been asked by a number of practicing lawyers how to handle clients who want to be licensed to set up medical marijuana cultivation and dispensing operations under the law passed by the 2013 Legislature.

The problem is that the existing rules governing legal practice bar lawyers from counseling clients or assisting them in any conduct that would violate state or federal law. Marijuana use and possession are still illegal — even for medical purposes — under federal law. Citing that rule, a number of lawyers have refused to help their cities and counties, while private lawyers have questioned whether they can accept clients who want to go in the pot business.

The change proposed by the Bar would add language permitting lawyers to counsel and assist clients in handling subjects that are permitted under state law — such as the production and sale of medical marijuana.

It would also allow city and county lawyers to advise their local authorities on development and implementation of regulations dealing with medical marijuana.

The hearing on the proposed change will be held in the Carson City Supreme Court room at 3 p.m. May 6.


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