Law360: February 16, 2022 – The International Cannabis Bar Association has warned the American Bar Association against a proposed change to the ethical guidelines regarding lawyers’ responsibilities to combat money laundering, saying it could ensnare attorneys.
The proposed changes would broadly extend lawyers’ due diligence obligations to be more proactive in verifying the legality of clients’ activities. And if adopted, it could have a broad impact on cannabis attorneys, according to a letter drafted by Christopher Davis, INCBA’s executive director;
INCBA Chairperson Jessica McElfresh; and Joslin Monahan, a member of the association’s ethics committee.
“The proposed language prohibits lawyers from representing cannabis-industry market participants — and could even create barriers for attorneys who represent state and local governments that license operators or that accept fees or tax payments from those operators,” the INCBA comment said.”