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Experts examine legal and ethical issues related to medicinal marijuana
As the trend of states legalizing medical marijuana continues, the conflict between federal authority and states’ rights in this area increases. While the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes has been legalized by 20 states and the District of Columbia, and four states have pending legislation to legalize it, the drug remains illegal under federal law.
“As more states permit marijuana use by adults and establish state-level regulatory regimes to control marijuana, the tension between federal and state laws in this area continues to grow,” Washington state Rep. Roger Goodman said. “The federal policy of absolute prohibition of marijuana rests on congressional authority under the Commerce Clause, yet the states arguably possess their inherent police powers to regulate marijuana for the health, welfare and safety of their people.”
A panel of legal and tax experts, including Goodman, will discuss this federal-state conflict and the legal and ethical issues surrounding medicinal marijuana during a program at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco. “Legal and Ethical Consequences of Medicinal Marijuana Representation: A Dope Niche — With State Law Changes, It’s Pot That’s Hot” will take place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Moscone Center West.
Goodman, whose state of Washington has legalized marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use, said federal law expressly pre-empts state laws in this area, yet states are refusing to be commandeered by federal authorities. They are moving to assert more rational, regulatory control over marijuana and following the will of their voters, he said.

Liana Held is the founder and CEO of Liana Limited, an Oakland, Calif., consulting company that specializes in medical cannabis business development. She has more than 15 years of experience in the medical cannabis industry and is specialized in compliance and accounting issues.
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