American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH) made an announcement last week concerning their efforts to persuade the
legislature in Pennsylvania to update the law to provide new legal protections
for lawyers in the Keystone State working with the cannabis industry.
The push comes as the General Assembly is considering the legalization
of medical marijuana, and it has the support of Andrew Sacks of Sacks
Weston Diamond LLC, the only lawyer whom ATACH has selected to serve on
the group’s State Level Coalition.
Sacks was quoted in the organization’s press release, saying that
“lawyers representing Cannabis businesses must be able to do so
without fear of running afoul of the law or losing their license by representing
members of the industry.” With success, ATACH’s effort to
include legal protections for marijuana lawyers would open the door for
members of the bar to counsel individuals and businesses in relation the
Pennsylvania marijuana laws, such as with respect to operating a dispensary
for medical marijuana. Without this protection, attorneys would tend to
shy away from providing counsel or representation to businesses in the
medical cannabis industry out of concerns for their professional reputation
Support of ATACH’s legislative efforts is not the only example of
the work that Sacks has been doing to assist with the legalization of
medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.
- Recently, he lobbied state senators who were involved in drafting the Pennsylvania
medical marijuana act to include Lupus on the list of conditions for which
the drug would be made available as a treatment, as well as to feature
a generalized pain provision in the law.
He was among the faculty for a continuing legal education (CLE) simulcast
on behalf of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, “Pennsylvania's Proposed Medical Cannabis Act.” It was well attended and the subject of keen interest among attorneys
hoping to learn the latest information about how the state law might affect
their practice and the broader business community in Pennsylvania.
- He additionally lobbied the senate directly to include the protections
for lawyers, the subject of the ATACH campaign.
The Legal Intelligencer in a piece about the question of whether attorneys in Pennsylvania might
shy away from working with parties in the cannabis industry. Sacks was
also quoted in two other articles from
The Legal Intelligencer about the
Pennsylvania Bar Association's push to update legislation and the
Pennsylvania and Philadelphia bars' opinion on the pot industry.
- The National Lupus Organization requested Mr. Sacks’ assistance in
changing their stance to favor cannabis as a treatment for patients.
Next was his request to the Philadelphia Bar Association for an advisory
opinion concerning whether lawyers can represent any company or person
involved in the marijuana industry without violating the Canons of Ethics
in Pennsylvania, which led to a
rare combined opinion published by both the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Pennsylvania
- Soon, he will be on the panel at a series of continuing legal education
(CLE) events (on November 23 and December 8) where attorneys from around
the state will gather to learn about the marijuana act and ethical issues
involved with the area.
With the passage of the marijuana act, ATACH will be the trade organization
for any and all businesses working in the cannabis industry in Pennsylvania.
As the only attorney listed as a member of ATACH, this positions Sacks
as a leading legal authority in the field of
marijuana law in Pennsylvania, a role he has earned through his ongoing research, lobbying and advocacy
in the field.