--- 1.0 CLE Credit for AZ,CA,CT,FL,ID,IL,NJ,NY,PA,WA
--- ethics
--- course production date: 3/11/2016
--- presented by AMEER N. BENNO

To date, 23 states have recognized the medical use of marijuana, and 4 states and the District of Columbia, have legalized the recreational manufacturing, distribution, and possession of marijuana. Given the conflict between federal and state marijuana laws, however, questions abound whether lawyers may ethically advise and assist clients in complying with their state’s marijuana laws, or whether they would be running afoul of state and federal ethical rules governing lawyers’ conduct were they to do so.

While a handful of states have weighed in on the subject, the majority of state bar associations and ethics committees have remained silent on the issue. It is therefore imperative that lawyers in states with medical or recreational marijuana laws proceed with caution when contemplating advising or assisting a potential client on issues involving state medical or recreational marijuana laws.

This course will survey the conclusions reached by the various state bars that have considered this evolving issue, and will explore lawyers’ personal exposure under far-reaching federal civil and criminal laws such as conspiracy, asset seizure and forfeiture, and money laundering.

Key course points are:
• Learn about the conflict between federal and state laws on the issue of legalization of medical and recreational marijuana.
• Understand the relevant federal criminal and civil statutes that may be implicated by assisting with marijuana-related businesses.
• Become acquainted with the ABA’s Model Rules 1.2 and 8.4.
• Survey the various state bar ethics opinions pertaining to advising or assisting clients in marijuana businesses.

--- presented by AMEER N. BENNO

Ameer Benno is the founding member of Benno & Associates P.C., a New York City-based law firm that represents plaintiffs in civil rights and constitutional law litigation in state and federal courts, and which also concentrates on appellate litigation and criminal defense.

In his civil rights practice, Mr. Benno champions the rights of individuals who have been subjected to governmental abuses of authority. His cases range from police misconduct matters to prisoner rights cases, from unjust conviction claims to First Amendment matters, and from ADA claims to cases challenging involuntary civil commitment.

Ameer began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, where he served in both the trial division and the appeals bureau. Upon leaving government service, Mr. Benno worked at civil litigation law firms where his caseload focused on civil rights matters in both state and federal courts.

From 2006 through 2012, Mr. Benno was an adjunct professor at New York Law School, where he taught Appellate Advocacy and Legal Reasoning and Writing.

Mr. Benno has been named to The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 in criminal law, the National Trial Lawyers “Top 40 Under 40,”and has been selected for inclusion in New York Super Lawyers Rising Stars (Metro) for the last four years in the areas of First Amendment and civil rights law.

He is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and Cornell Law School.