Las Vegas Sun

August 29, 2014

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Lawyers can give medical pot advice, top Nevada court rules

In a quick turnaround, the Nevada Supreme Court on Wednesday said lawyers can advise their clients on the state’s medical marijuana law without facing sanctions.

The court issued its order one day after lawyers asked for guidance in counseling their clients on the law.

Medical marijuana is legal in Nevada and the process is underway to license dispensaries, cultivation operations and kitchens to make edible pot products. But marijuana is still illegal under federal law, which causes a dilemma for attorneys.

A professional rule of conduct forbids lawyers from advising a client to break the law. The state Bar of Nevada petitioned the court to clarify the rule so an attorney would not be disciplined for advising clients.

The Wednesday order said lawyers in these cases must also advise their clients of the federal law regarding the drug.

City attorneys from various municipalities had worried they might be cited for violating the rule of conduct if they helped their governments draw up zoning and business license ordinances.

The state Bar of Nevada asked the court on Tuesday for guidance, and the court had indicated it might take some time on the issue despite requests for speedy action. Wednesday's unexpected ruling is effective immediately.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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