It is a lot of fun being a cannabis attorney.
For the non-attorneys reading this blog, you might not be aware of the endless ways to practice law. For starters, you can be a litigator, a government attorney, and in-house counsel, or private practice corporate lawyer. You could focus on family law, public housing rights, labor disputes, real estate, sports law, and yes, even marijuana. There are some commonalities for all of these attorneys:
-We all attended multiple years of law school learning to “think like a lawyer.”
-We all have a code of ethics and professionalism to follow.
-We all know the TV show Law & Order is as accurate in depicting the practice of law, as Grey’s Anatomy is in depicting the practice of medicine. (Note – there is more overlap than you think)
Many of the lawyers I know enjoy their jobs, but they don’t love them. Some are significantly underpaid in government or non-profit jobs, others make plenty of money but are unfulfilled by the work.
Depending on the subject area, a lawyer may be working in a newer segment like my friends in social media or comic book law. They may also be working on boring, super-old law that existed before any of us were born. The lawyer may be researching insurance coverage laws, or arguing with other lawyers about the meaning behind the word “they.”
While a lawyer’s personality is the best indicator of what kind of law they will most enjoy, I would like to suggest that pot law is the most fun.
Our work is anything but boring.
Pot lawyers get the opportunity to work in the gray zone; developing an area of law with no precedent.
This is an industry that literally is forbidden by the federal government but somehow exists and is thriving in 50% of the states in the U.S.
Cannabis law transcends nearly every other kind of law – so a true “cannabis lawyer” actually works in many other practice areas, including corporate, litigation, regulatory, intellectual property, banking, employment, finance, product liability, and of course, criminal law.
More often than not, a legal question in the cannabis industry is answered with “I don’t know, but here is the most likely answer.” We counsel clients on high risk activities, with the backdrop of inevitability of national marijuana reform. We hang on every new state and local regulation, and collectively hold our breaths for when marijuana is no longer a Schedule 1 drug under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act (more on that topic in future blog posts).
We are an indirect part of an movement working to right the wrongs of decades of the War on Drugs. We work to create an industry that reflects the diversity of the community it serves.
We hear pot jokes. Endless, mostly recycled, pot jokes.
Cannabis law is expanding into traditional companies and traditional law firms. Before you know it, cannabis law will be mainstream and common.
Until then, just know that the pot lawyers are having the most fun.