The Colorado Supreme Court sets many of the professional standards for the practice of law in the state, as codified in the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule 1.2, among other things, prohibits a lawyer from assisting a client in conduct that the lawyer knows to be criminal.
On Monday, March 24, the court, by majority vote, adopted a new comment to this rule, which specifically allows a lawyer to counsel a client regarding the validity scope and meaning of Colorado’s pot laws and may now assist a client in conduct the lawyer believes is permitted under state law. The comment also provides that lawyers shall advise clients of related federal laws and policies.
As such, lawyers in Colorado can now assist and counsel the owners and operators of legitimate marijuana businesses without risking their own licenses by violating ethical provisions.
Law Week reports that two of Colorado’s seven Supreme Court Justices, Nathan B. Coats and Allison H. Eid, did not approve of the new comment.