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Attorneys In Hawaii Cannot Be Hired To Help Start Medical Marijuana Businesses


hawaii medical marijuanaAnyone who has ever started a medical marijuana business knows that there’s a lot to it. It’s much more than simply paying for a business license, renting a place, and opening for business. There are more things involved with starting a medical marijuana business than most other businesses. What are the local regulations, if any? What are the state regulations? What changes to those regulations are likely to occur in the future? What things need to happen to be in compliance with those regulations (potentially for the time being!). Did I mention the usual legal issues that go into a business, such as intellectual property rights, operating agreements, etc.?

For obvious reasons, serious medical marijuana entrepreneurs need to seek legal advice from an attorney. Unfortunately for those entrepreneurs in Hawaii, they will not be able to get legal advice for starting a business. The Disciplinary Board of the Hawai’i Supreme Court was asked the following two questions:

  1. whether a lawyer may provide legal advice about act 241 (which legalized medical marijuana dispensaries)
  2. whether a lawyer may provide legal services to facilitate the establishment and operation of a medical marijuana business “when such acts are expressly authorized under [Act 241], but remain a crime under federal law, albeit with a low enforcement priority.

As far as I know, every state that has ruled on this has ruled that attorneys can indeed work with marijuana businesses. Unfortunately, that is not the case in Hawaii. The Supreme Court ruled that attorneys can talk about the act itself, but that’s where the counsel ends. Attorneys cannot help businesses setup their operations. So unfortunately, entrepreneurs will have to go it on their own. I expect a flood of mediocre (and that’s putting it nicely) consultants coming to Hawaii to help businesses out. This is not good for patients, and it’s not good for Hawaii.

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Johnny Green


  1. Easy to say huh? Let me tell you this. If you think it’s easy to say, why don’t you come to Hawai’i and try to capitalize on the industry your self.

    Pfft! That’s what I thought.

  2. I agree, but the AZ Bar Association ended up caving on the issue. IIRC, they’ve tried that in several States that didn’t work.

    However you’re absolutely correct! Until it’s DE-scheduled we’ll have legal with it.

  3. Wow, hawaii must be really corrupt. The bar there is totally in on the black market weed.
    I wonder how good the representation for victims of the war against cannabis is in Hawaii?
    Is a lawyer there allowed to defend someone for possession or cultivation?

    WTF Hawaii?

    Get on board with legalization soon or someone on the mainland will breed some strains to make Kona Bud look like mexican brick.

    You guys have a Coca-Cola level brand name, and you aren’t even capitalizing on it properly.

  4. They tried that shit in AZ but it didn’t float. An attorney isn’t bound to dealing with JUST Federal issues. Attorneys argue STATE law as well. How can you tell someone that’s going to be in a business that the State JUST made legal, that they DON’T get Legal counsel? How can the State create rules that businesses must abide by, then tell them they DON’T get ANY Legal protection? That’s unconstitutional at best!

  5. To help Hawaii with legalization problems with marijuana lets make itso it helps all states. It is almost election time. So if all of us petition, have legalization rallies, and testimony by patients who benefit from marijuana use it is a small step against the federal government. Let’s all attack the federal government hard with demands for reclassification of marijuana from schedule one to a scientifically tested proper classification. Once that is done it will get easier to have marijuana legal in all states.

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