Harris Bricken Article: Psilocybin and Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys

Harris Bricken Article: Psilocybin and Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys
CANNANNEW REPORT

HB published the following 11 May Regulations continue to develop in Oregon for psilocybin services, and businesses will soon operate in the new industry. As we explained in a recent webinar, the new industry will be heavily regulated, and psilocybin-related businesses will be expected to strictly comply with these regulations and the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act. These businesses will need help from lawyers to operate legally, however the legal rules of professional conduct (RPC) may present a barrier to such legal services for psilocybin ventures. Cannabis and the rules of professional conduct Lawyers are governed by the RPC and related commentary. Violating those rules can result in license suspension and even disbarment. Each state enacts its own rules, but most states have some variation of Rule 1.2 which governs the scope of legal services. In Oregon, Rule 1.2(c) provides: A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent, but a lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist a client to make a good faith effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law. This rule created problems for cannabis businesses in recent history. Since 2012 many states, including Oregon, passed laws allowing retail cannabis businesses. However, most of these laws created a significant amount of “red tape” for businesses. Further, “marihuana” is still federally prohibited as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Thus, lawyers feared repercussions from assisting cannabis businesses, because such services technically violated Rule 1.2 by assisting businesses that were violating the CSA. Businesses struggled to find legal advice in the complex industry. Luckily, some states did not penalize lawyers for assisting these businesses. Soon thereafter, many states changed their professional conduct rules to allow lawyers to represent…

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Source : Harris Bricken Article: Psilocybin and Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys

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