Gates Calderon Says No Clear Path Yet in Cannabis Law

Missouri Lawyers Weekly interviewed lawyers and professors about two informal advisory opinions on ethical issues facing Missouri attorneys who represent clients in the medical-marijuana industry. Missouri’s Legal Ethics Counsel issued the opinions, which explore four questions submitted to the ethics counsel.

The uncertainty according to MLW is due to the difference in state and federal laws. The disparity falls between the federal Controlled Substance Act, which makes it illegal to cultivate, sell and use marijuana and Missouri’s new constitutional amendment, which allows such activity for medical purposes.

“The opinions don’t relieve that tension as much as memorialize it,” Shook Partner Katie Gates Calderon told the publication. “These opinions reflect that, even in states where medical or recreation marijuana is legal, it’s not possible to provide lawyers with a clear path forward on these issues.”

In July, Shook launched a Cannabis Law practice, co-led by Calderon and Partner Greg Wu, to serve clients nationally in the food and beverage, retail and other industries that may use CBD products. The firm, working with ALM, created a white paper exploring the issues most pressing to general counsel. The survey found more than half of in-house counsel interviewed anticipate an increase in legal spend in the next two years to accommodate the evolving cannabis market. Challenges over the next decade are likely to occur in regulatory, employment and litigation according to the in-house survey.