Lawyers High On Medical Marijuana’s Money





This state’s lawyers aren’t letting the grass grow under their feet when it comes to medical marijuana.

They want a piece of the business, which is predicted to generate $1.6 billion by 2020. That’s only three years!

Helping potential growers, physicians and pharmacies thread through the expected slew of states and local rules will be a major windfall for lawyers.

But not all lawyers are high on marijuana.

Writing in the Florida Bar Journal, lawyer Bruce Reinhart of West Palm Beach warns that:

“With the passage in Florida and other states of laws permitting medical and recreational use of marijuana, lawyers are being asked to provide legal advice and legal services to the so-called “legal marijuana” industry. These lawyers should think carefully before dispensing advice. Despite what the states and advocates may say, legal marijuana does not exist. A marijuana business that fully complies with state law is still breaking federal law. Bluntly put, it is a criminal enterprise.

“Lawyers who provide assistance to a marijuana business are putting themselves at risk for incarceration, loss of money, and disbarment. Unless Congress amends federal law, tremendous legal and ethical risks exist for any lawyer representing clients in this market. In this author’s view, state laws and bar opinions to the contrary offer hollow protection.”

Of course, open federal opposition could benefit lawyers, too.  Fighting the Feds would generate more legal fees.

Reinhart’s article is not stopping the sprawling Florida law firm GreenspoonMader of presenting the event below. The downtown Fort Lauderdale based firm is just one of several holding such seminars with their eyes on potential big legal fees.

The invitation states,


“Are you, a colleague or client interested in learning more and becoming a part of the cannabis industry? Based on the success of our conference and a clear demand in the market we are moving forward with a professional services organization for the cannabis industry called The Cannabis LAB. The LAB stands for law, accounting and business. We like to say we are bringing the suit and tie crowd to the cannabis industry. It is clear that as the industry transitions it is the people that already operate in the corporate or business space that will become its leaders. As with our conference, we want to bring together the best and brightest of these same people to meet, exchange ideas, learn and grow in the cannabis space. For this reason we are starting The Cannabis LAB….

“…It’s about lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, investors and entrepreneurs doing what they do better, and specific to cannabis. We are going to teach attorneys CLE approved programs, like we always have, about laws pertinent to cannabis. We will do the same for all professional services. In fact, we will look to bring in the best and brightest thought leaders from all over the globe from month to month to educate and illuminate our members and guests. Also, like we have always done, we will look to connect good apples with good apples.”


Cha-Ching! Cha-Ching!







13 Responses to “Lawyers High On Medical Marijuana’s Money”

  1. city activist robert walsh says:

    No kidding lawyers want a piece of the action. Well the attorneys helped and worked to push it through. I say open up the flood gates approve recreational pot as well. Its a cash cow and these lawyers know it. Although w/ this state we will be the last state to approve recreational pot. I say they all pushed(atty) to get med.pot on ballot lets go w/ the edible pot brownies. I mean states that have rec. pot are balancing their budgets w/ the proceeds. Like i always tell the grifters there is enough money to go around. The lawyers deserve to be paid. It stands to reason they don’t work for free,or take phone calls,emails etc. Oh yes. retain a atty. call them,fax, email u will be charged. Although all the cases i won i could.t do it w/out them. Here’s to them(but w/ me i make your job sooo much easier(what i do is present case, wrap it up and what they do is put a shiny bow on it and like magic i.m getting a check…..Give the lawyers there money for ligation etc. Work your magic attys and get rec. pot and you won’t be able to count the cash fast enough….

  2. Seth Platt says:

    The Democratic Professionals Network will be hosting a Luncheon on Thursday at the Tower Club in Fort Lauderdale. The panel discussion for this lunch will be on the implementation of the Medical marijuana Laws in Florida. GreenspoonMarder and Weiss Serota have graciously agreed to cosponsor the event as well as provide panelists. Also featured on the Panel is LSN Partners’ Ben Pollara who managed the Campaign for United for Care and is now the Executive Director of Florida for Care.
    We invite any city officials or those interested in our topic or cause to join us for what we hope will be an informative discussion to identify the nuances, complications, and process involved in implementing the overwhelming will of Florida voters at the state and local level.
    The Democratic Professionals Network meets monthly in Fort Lauderdale to provide networking opportunities and policy discussions for Democrats. More information on the event can be found here:
    Thanks for raising awareness of these issues Mr. Nevins.

  3. GLS says:

    Here are a few undisputed facts on this topic:

    1. Regardless of the Florida Bar’s position on the ethics of representing clients in the medical marijuana industry, such representation is illegal under Federal law and the attorneys undertaking this representation will have likely committed conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs or will have aided and abetted such distribution. This applies equally to any lobbying or other firm. Furthermore, accepting of funds from these clients violates numerous anti-money laundering laws and regulations (oh, and also forget trying to deduct any business expenses related to these clients as doing so would likely be violative of Federal tax laws and regulations as well).

    2. Most professional liability insurance excludes coverage for activities that an attorney knows or should know to be illegal. Regardless of what an insurance carrier might tell you telephonically or otherwise informally, if there is a significant malpractice or other claim, you can bet your @$$ that the insurer will be raising those affirmative defenses.

    3. With the possible appointment of Jeff Sessions to head the DOJ, which is scary in and of itself, everyone who is thinking of associating with clients in this industry should be even more concerned about items 1 and 2 above.

  4. Get real says:

    Gerry Greenspoon is a blow hard Who played absolutely no part in anything to do with the passage and implementation of medical marijuana in Florida. To think that he is somehow a power player or voice is ridiculous. A Johnny come lately who only cares about lining his big fat ass pocket.

  5. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    Look, I see no point to pot stores.

    Marijuana has been declared a medication by the voters. The majority of us, including me, voted for it because when a physician prescribes something to help us, we do not want government in the way of what the doctor thinks is best.

    And yes, marijuana helps many.

    We as citizens agreed and now rules are being written in Tallahassee to manage how this gets implemented in our state.

    I strongly believe that all medicine should be dispensed at pharmacies. To me, straying from that is both unnecessary and dangerous.

    Forget that some pharmacies have said they don’t want to carry leafy pot. Corporate policies change all the time, and profit motive is the strongest reason. There will be licensed pharmacies where patients can buy their medicine safely.

    We don’t need or have stores that only carry, for example, antibiotics. Right? That would be silly.

    Or stores that only sell aspirins, or cancer medicines, etc. Equally silly. Well, for the same reasons we don’t need specific stores specializing in selling pot. There’s just no good reason for it. IF pot is a medication, let it be sold like all other medications — in pharmacies.

    Pharmacies are licensed to dispense prescribed medications, using licensed professionals in a safe, dependable and reliable way. When we stray from that we create trouble.

    For example, Broward County was ground zero for pill mills not so long ago. It was a sloppy way of doing business. As a result, thousands still suffer the pain of needless addiction to opiates. That is what sloppy government results in.

    The pill mill nightmare was a disgrace, a nationwide disgrace, and Broward County’s face was front and center on that disgrace.

    Let’s get medical marijuana right.

    If the people ever decide to make it legal for recreational use, fine by all means. But IF this is about medication, THEN the place to get it should be a pharmacy. Not some head shop.

    Do it that way and you avoid a ton of very predictable grief and negative impact on communities and people. Do it not, be prepared to live through another nightmare. We should be smarter than that by now.


  6. Charles King says:

    Dear Commissioner and…Angelo Castillo did you think local Broward Doctors knew best for their patients when they were getting rich legally proscribing pain pills killing many thousands of people a couple years back. Doctors deciding is s recipe for profit,addiction and a new lost generation of loser teenagers robbed of all ambition to do anything but smoke pot, score scripts and play video games.

  7. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    You bring up a good point. Two thoughts.

    First, we have been prosecuting doctors for not properly prescribing pain meds to patients during the pill mill days. That is appropriate as they are accused of not practicing medicine responsibly.

    Second, however, as physicians are the primary source of prescribing medication to patients, since we are talking about marijuana as a prescribed medicine, I’m not sure how we get around the concern you raise.

    That some doctors didn’t practice medicine correctly doesn’t negate the fact that most do and will.

    Back to my point, while pharmacies may have difficulty because marijuana remains a federally prohibited substance, irrespective of state laws, dispensaries can employ licensed pharmacists. It’s not as good as having it dispensed out of pharmacies as all prescribed medicines should be dispensed. But at least that way we elevate the handling of the matter to a professional level.

    Floridians have voted in favor of this measure. By will of the people, medical marijuana will be available in Florida probably within the next six months subject to the rules the state creates. The purpose of my commentary was to help find the most responsible way, as I see it. As you indicate, the pill mill saga was a case study in totally botched governmental management and oversight. Of that there is no doubt.



  8. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Obviously real estste salesmen know more about meficine than doctors.

  9. Concerned Citizen says:


    I do not think pharmacies can distribute marijuana because of the federal laws. Most are part of business that operate as part of interstate commerce and are therefore directly subject to federal laws. Furthermore, if there is even a chance of federal enforcement of the laws, no pharmacy is going to risk distributing the drug.

    Independent state dispensaries are the only option until the federal government loosens or just outright changes the laws. Based on Jeff Sessions hearings, that is not happening in this administration even though more than half of Americans are in favor of the change.

  10. GLS says:


    I don’t recommend supporting the validity of a premise by reason of the fact that voters declared it to be so. I’d venture to say that the large majority of the voting population is relatively unsophisticated on anything related to marijuana. I don’t disagree that doctors should have available to them all of the tools to treat their patients and meet their individual needs, but declaring that something is medicine because the voters said so is practically like saying Donald Trump is the best person to lead the U.S. because the voters voted him into office. We all know that this is just a non-sequitur (at least reasonable and rational people).

    Furthermore, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. Marijuana is not legal in any jurisdiction in the U.S. That point should always be made clear. While the federal enforcement agencies may look the other way (or may not depending on who is appointed to lead the DOJ), anyone in the business of producing marijuana for medical or recreational use without a federal license or permit to do so is breaking federal law, as are the businesses who maintain these marijuana businesses as clients, including banks, law firms, CPA firms, lobbying firms, etc. If you’ve taken money from such a business, then you have in all likelihood violated federal anti-money laundering laws and regulations, not to mention a plethora of other federal criminal laws. Again, I am not suggesting what laws and policies should be on this issue, merely that its dangerous and irresponsible for anyone to suggest the legality of marijuana when it is not legal.

  11. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    @9 — Pharmacies would be the best place to dispense all prescribed meds. But that doesn’t mean that non-pharmacy dispensaries can’t hire licensed pharmacists to dispense the medication at those locations — which would be my second choice.

    We should elevate the caricature of dispensary above the trashy image of a head shop, with a neon-green pot leaf, glow in the dark accessories, lava lamps, incense, tattoo parlor, adult book store right next to it, etc. Action. Not talk will elevate it. Nobody’s going to BS their way through this. It has to be a real and substantive difference to earn community support.

    Laugh if you want, people conger up these images up when you talk to them about medical marijuana distribution in communities. They have every right to their assumptions.

    They image of what goes next to the Publix where they shop with their families is important to them. In communities like mine, they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy homes. Head shops is not what they’re looking for, so let’s wise up.

    Do they want folks who are sick to be helped, yes. That’s already established.

    But if doing so means lowering community standards, it’s just not going to work. So, this new “industry” had better sit up and pay some very close, GD attention to what cities are telling them.

    For this to happen in Broward communities — especially since pot will still be illegal by federal law, a cash business because of it and because many who are not sick will want pot — this entire dispensary thing need a super strong dose of professionalism.

    And don’t ask city commissioners to care more about that than you — the “industry” does. We won’t. You’re the ones that will earn millions on this. You fix the problem.

    Not with excuses. But with honest and profound professionalism. I’ve been around a while and I’m telling you pharmacists are part of the solution. The “industry” would be wise to pay attention.

    Sad stories of sick people needing this med is NOT going to cut it.

    And we in cities cannot be asked to care more about the “industry” and their profits than they do.

    So I say to them, wake the hell up and don’t be a dope about it.

    That’s my take.

    @10 — Trump has every right to decide he will enforce the federal pot laws if he wants, despite what states have done. That’s his choice to make.


  12. Ha Ha Ha says:

    The correct description is a word from the Netherlands (a land famous for its “coffee shops”): gedogen

  13. Concerned Citizen says:


    I agree that the perception of a dispensary needs to be elevated. I have a number of friends and acquaintances who own dispensaries in Colorado. The first thing they did was change the image of head shop by preventing loitering outside the dispensary and changing the interiors to reflect modern decor. They sell no lava lamp or tie dye type products. They have very knowledgeable staff, referred to in the industry as “budtenders,” and have developed very professional clientele. Some have even gone so far as to incorporate the look of an Apple Store with iPads explaining the qualities of the marijuana for sale.

    I would suggest an exploratory trip to Denver. Visit Euroflora which is on the main tourist strip in downtown. Check out the Colorado Harvest Company and Altitude dispensaries. You will see that these are modern, highly regulated, successful businesses. They do not have the straggly, long-haired hippy clientele that people perceive these dispensaries to have. You will also notice that there is little to no public consumption of marijuana on the streets of Denver.

    From a straight business perspective, these are quality and financially successful endeavors which provide a product that could be considered medicine, but most definitely contribute a vast tax base upon which their communities have benefited from greatly.