federal criminal liability, First Amendment, judicial deference, Model Rules of Professional Conduct, attorney advice, protected speech, federal criminal law


Imagine that you practice as an attorney in the State of Arkansas. A client solicits your advice about opening a marijuana dispensary or cultivation center. The client might want you to assist him in filing a dispensary application with the State. On the other hand, she might want you to negotiate a commercial lease or to provide services to ensure compliance with municipal zoning laws. Although Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment permitting medical marijuana sales, you provide a clear warning to your client: possessing, manufacturing, selling, and distributing marijuana remains a federal crime. After these precautions, however, you proceed to business as usual, providing a routine legal service just as you would for any other client.