RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- New rules and regulations to establish medical marijuana dispensaries in Nevada are now ready for adoption.
These regulations will serve as a legal blueprint for cities and counties in setting up these dispensaries. However, as reported Thursday, the process to begin this implementation has hit a new snag. Attorneys who advise and counsel on setting up places where medicinal pot will be sold could face the possibility of fines or being disbarred.
David Clark, Counsel for the Nevada State Bar, talked about what is being done to fix this problem, and how much of a delay this will mean in implementing Nevada's medical marijuana law.
While medical marijuana is legal in Nevada, it is still a federal crime and there lies the problem. It is in direct conflict with the attorney's Professional Code of Conduct and Ethics. "When we start advising our clients on this is how you regulate and sell medical marijuana, you are now actively engaged with them in conduct that is a violation of federal law," said Clark. "Even though its fine by state law, it is clearly a violation of federal law."
Attorneys who deal with medical marijuana want to know if they could potentially face ethics charges from the State Bar. "The public attorneys, City Attorneys you know, Las Vegas, Reno, Sparks, they've asked the State Bar Standing Committee on Ethics to issue an opinion on if public attorneys can engage in this conduct."
But this opinion is only the first step in a process. A rule change must go before the Bar's Governing Board. "I know our board is prepared to consider that. I know they've had talks with the Standing Committee as to what they're going to do," said Clark.
The Governing Board meets in April and if it determines to move ahead, a petition asking for a rule change must go before the Nevada Supreme Court. "Unfortunately, the process goes 30 days for review from my office. Thirty days for review from the Supreme Court before it issues an opinion."
Clark says there have been no complaints and his office has never prosecuted anyone regarding this, but he adds clear guidance is definitely needed. "I don't really foresee this being a real issue in my office, but I don't want to sit there and speculate what might happen if there's a complaint in the future."