Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

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lionLawyer
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Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby lionLawyer » Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:41 am

Hey guys,

I'm a 1L at school in California. After being treated for stress and anxiety for the last couple years, I got a medical marijuana card when I came out to California. Now I'm wondering if this is something that will come up when I apply for the bar. I don't have any sort of criminal record, and everything else is clean. I'm not sure I want to work in California. If I took the bar somewhere else (or in California for that matter) do they get a record that I'm registered for medical marijuana?

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YankeesFan
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby YankeesFan » Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:44 am

lionLawyer wrote:After being treated for stress and anxiety for the last couple years, I got a medical marijuana card


Well done good sir, well done.

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I.P. Daly
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby I.P. Daly » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:45 pm

What's the issue?

lionLawyer
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby lionLawyer » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:50 pm

Should I be worried about this for the bar and/or practicing in California or anywhere else? How easy is it to find out if someone is registered for a medical marijuana card?

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Bronte
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby Bronte » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:50 pm

I.P. Daly wrote:What's the issue?


It's illegal under federal law. OP, I doubt it will be prohibitive, but it's a question that only an expert can answer.

The Duck
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby The Duck » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:54 pm

Bronte wrote:
I.P. Daly wrote:What's the issue?


It's illegal under federal law. OP, I doubt it will be prohibitive, but it's a question that only an expert can answer.


I'm pretty sure you'd have to disclose this at some point. (Probably under the prescriptions for psychiatric treatment...) I'd call your state's board and ask them. I've heard rumors that people have gotten screwed by this because its an admission you're breaking federal law. It may also raise concerns you'd illegally use it if moving to a state without medical marijuana.

Notwithstanding the marijuana, you'll have to disclose the treatment for mental health. This probably won't hurt you so long as you can explain how you've coped with it...but I'd make sure marijuana wasn't a part of how you're dealing.

nStiver
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby nStiver » Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:22 pm

Just keep smoking man smile now cry later

CanadianWolf
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:03 pm

My best guess is that it shouldn't harm your bar fitness certification in the 17 or so states which permit medical marijuana usage, but don't plan on a career with the US Attorneys office or the FBI. Be prepared to share your medical records to demonstrate that your stress & anxiety issues called for medication. Some states, such as Texas, require pre-registration with the state bar upon entering law school which might help get an answer much earlier than from other states' bars. Why not contact the California State Bar & ask ?

lionLawyer
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby lionLawyer » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:19 am

Does anybody out there know if other states/state bars can gain access to the California list of medical marijuana users?

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togepi
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby togepi » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:23 am

I had mine in California for about three months and then I moved abroad to teach. I only gave them my license to photocopy (not a californian one). Is that going to show up on my record? It was really unprofessional and I went in there and the doctor was on a webcam on this computer in a separate room. I told him I had trouble sleeping and then he said alright and greenlighted me.

Should I be worried too?

The Duck
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby The Duck » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:54 am

lionLawyer wrote:Does anybody out there know if other states/state bars can gain access to the California list of medical marijuana users?


Its not this...you have to disclose mental health treatment or prescriptions...most of the grounds for medical marijuana would fit under this. (E.g. sleeping, anxiety, stress) They don't have to access the list, you have to disclose. If you don't and get caught, you have no shot at passing C&F.

Depending on the wording, there may or may not be other questions about unlawful conduct (or even just a catchall) that would catch this as well.

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minnbills
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby minnbills » Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:22 am

You really need to speak to an expert about this. No one on this forum can give you good advice in this situation.

smittytron3k
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby smittytron3k » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:45 am

Not sure you would have to disclose this under the mental health question. Probably depends on how your state words this quesiton. For instance, the CA bar asks:

Applicants should consider the following definitions for the words and phrases used in answering the question below:
"Ability to practice law" includes performing services in a court of justice, in any manner, throughout its various stages and in conformity with adopted rules of procedure. In a larger sense it includes providing legal advice and counsel and preparation of legal instruments and contracts by which legal rights are protected. Law practice may also include the resolution of legal questions for consumers by advice and action if difficult or doubtful legal questions are involved, which, to safeguard the public, reasonably demand the application of a trained legal mind.
"Good moral character" includes qualities of honesty, fairness, candor, trustworthiness, observance of fiduciary responsibility, respect for and obedience to the laws to the state and the nation, and respect for the rights of others and for the judicial process.
"Mental illness, disease or disorder" includes mental or psychological conditions or disorders, such as, but not limited to, schizophrenia, paranoia, bipolar illness (manic depression), sociopathy, or any other psychotic disorder.
"Currently" does not mean on the day of, or even in the weeks or months preceding, the completion of the application. Rather, it means recently enough so that you believe that the mental condition may have an ongoing impact on your functioning as an attorney.

13.1 Have you ever been diagnosed or treated for a medically recognized mental illness, disease, or disorder that would currently interfere with your ability to practice law?


Not sure that insomina or anxiety constitute a "mental disease or disorder", at least as defined by the CA bar and other states who use similar wording. Again, you should really consult a professional about this - no one on TLS can give you a good answer to this question.

The Duck
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby The Duck » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:05 am

smittytron3k wrote:Not sure you would have to disclose this under the mental health question. Probably depends on how your state words this quesiton. For instance, the CA bar asks:

Applicants should consider the following definitions for the words and phrases used in answering the question below:
"Ability to practice law" includes performing services in a court of justice, in any manner, throughout its various stages and in conformity with adopted rules of procedure. In a larger sense it includes providing legal advice and counsel and preparation of legal instruments and contracts by which legal rights are protected. Law practice may also include the resolution of legal questions for consumers by advice and action if difficult or doubtful legal questions are involved, which, to safeguard the public, reasonably demand the application of a trained legal mind.
"Good moral character" includes qualities of honesty, fairness, candor, trustworthiness, observance of fiduciary responsibility, respect for and obedience to the laws to the state and the nation, and respect for the rights of others and for the judicial process.
"Mental illness, disease or disorder" includes mental or psychological conditions or disorders, such as, but not limited to, schizophrenia, paranoia, bipolar illness (manic depression), sociopathy, or any other psychotic disorder.
"Currently" does not mean on the day of, or even in the weeks or months preceding, the completion of the application. Rather, it means recently enough so that you believe that the mental condition may have an ongoing impact on your functioning as an attorney.

13.1 Have you ever been diagnosed or treated for a medically recognized mental illness, disease, or disorder that would currently interfere with your ability to practice law?


Not sure that insomina or anxiety constitute a "mental disease or disorder", at least as defined by the CA bar and other states who use similar wording. Again, you should really consult a professional about this - no one on TLS can give you a good answer to this question.


I'd certainly ask an expert, but since both are in the DSM-IV I'd say they are both recognized psychological conditions or disorders. Now, they may not "currently" affect your ability...but some states word the question much broader than that. Further, the DSM-IV criteria for diagnoses requires them to affect your ability to function normally...so if you have a prescription based upon that diagnosis...

Now you could also argue that the "such as" narrows the scope of conditions to only those similar to the more serious conditions it enumerates. But I don't think I'd personally make that leap without talking to an expert. This phrase is often used and interpreted as not having such a limiting factor...instead its merely a signal that examples follow to which they don't want responses limited. And given the broad scope of their question, I think it would count.

E.g. Virginia:
"Have you been chemically or psychologically dependent upon or treated for the use of any drug, including alcohol?" Presumably, even smoking cigarettes would have to be disclosed.

"Within the past 5 years . . . diagnosed or treated for any of the following . . . or any other condition which impaired your behavior, judgment, understanding, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to function in school, work, or other important life activities.

Then there is a catch all question for any "mental, emotional, or nervous disorder or condition not reported above" that could affect your ability to perform any of the obligations/responsibilities of a practicing lawyer.

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Bronte
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby Bronte » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:16 pm

The thing is, would a past conviction for marijuana possession disqualify you? Almost certainly not. It's not the type of "moral turpitude" crime that they're worried about, i.e., one relating to honesty or one involving violence. So why would a past quasi-legal use of marijuana disqualify you?

In any event, OP, you should think about talking to someone who knows more about this. But I would remain calm.

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radar714
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby radar714 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:09 pm

OP: I'm not sure about your doctor, but i know for a fact that many doctors that issue recommendations for Medical marijuana maintain strictly paper records of their patients, and because no health insurance covers it, they never report your diagnosis to anyone except the collectives/caregivers/clubs that you procure your medicine from. Thus, it's not on any "record" anywhere.

The only people that ever have access or knowledge of your recommendation are:
(1) you
(2) anyone you tell
(3) your doctor
(4) your caregiver/club/collective

It doesn't have to be reported to any "Monolithic weedsmoker-tracking database" that brands you with a scarlet letter. The only way patient records can get out is when caregiver/club/collectives get raided by the DEA and they confiscate them, but the DEA isn't out to get patients, they care about the growers/vendors/collective managers.

Don't stress, I know several attorneys in CA that have cards. In fact, they got them so that they would avoid criminal charges should they ever get caught with marijuana by a cop. And yes, they are all in entertainment.

The Duck
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby The Duck » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:25 pm

radar714 wrote:OP: I'm not sure about your doctor, but i know for a fact that many doctors that issue recommendations for Medical marijuana maintain strictly paper records of their patients, and because no health insurance covers it, they never report your diagnosis to anyone except the collectives/caregivers/clubs that you procure your medicine from. Thus, it's not on any "record" anywhere.

The only people that ever have access or knowledge of your recommendation are:
(1) you
(2) anyone you tell
(3) your doctor
(4) your caregiver/club/collective

It doesn't have to be reported to any "Monolithic weedsmoker-tracking database" that brands you with a scarlet letter. The only way patient records can get out is when caregiver/club/collectives get raided by the DEA and they confiscate them, but the DEA isn't out to get patients, they care about the growers/vendors/collective managers.

Don't stress, I know several attorneys in CA that have cards. In fact, they got them so that they would avoid criminal charges should they ever get caught with marijuana by a cop. And yes, they are all in entertainment.


If there's anything else you take away from this thread, take this: The rules are different for people already admitted to the bar. Do not base your conduct off what lawyers you know may do. That doesn't mean it doesn't need to be disclosed, and doesn't mean it won't hold up your C&F.

Some things, e.g. unpaid debts, won't get you into trouble once admitted but can prevent your admission altogether.

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jgc02a
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby jgc02a » Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:06 pm

You'll need to worry if you end up doing in house counsel for a company and they see that crap on your insurance. Hell, you may need to worry if the firm you work for notices that crap on your insurance. I live in Denver, CO and work for a Fortune 500 company, and that's the reason I haven't done it.

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Bronte
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby Bronte » Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:42 pm

jgc02a wrote:You'll need to worry if you end up doing in house counsel for a company and they see that crap on your insurance. Hell, you may need to worry if the firm you work for notices that crap on your insurance. I live in Denver, CO and work for a Fortune 500 company, and that's the reason I haven't done it.


I would think most people do not go through their insurance for that kind of thing.

The Duck
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby The Duck » Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:48 pm

Bronte wrote:
jgc02a wrote:You'll need to worry if you end up doing in house counsel for a company and they see that crap on your insurance. Hell, you may need to worry if the firm you work for notices that crap on your insurance. I live in Denver, CO and work for a Fortune 500 company, and that's the reason I haven't done it.


I would think most people do not go through their insurance for that kind of thing.


You might have to disclose it. They typically ask about medications whether they are paying for it or not and lying is a criminal act. Maybe even a felony (I haven't looked).

It may not seem like a big deal but I know a lawyer who was suspended for 2 years and jailed for 30 days for failing to disclose $10K in debt and child support obligations on a mortgage application. And the mortgage was always in good standing and had been repaid by the time it was discovered. In this instance, it was discovered because someone that leased office space from him committed loan fraud and the FBI went through every document anyone in the building produced. The jail term was a surprise...but the judge felt like he should be made an example of.

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Bronte
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Re: Consequences of medical marijuana in law school

Postby Bronte » Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:32 pm

The Duck wrote:
Bronte wrote:
jgc02a wrote:You'll need to worry if you end up doing in house counsel for a company and they see that crap on your insurance. Hell, you may need to worry if the firm you work for notices that crap on your insurance. I live in Denver, CO and work for a Fortune 500 company, and that's the reason I haven't done it.


I would think most people do not go through their insurance for that kind of thing.


You might have to disclose it. They typically ask about medications whether they are paying for it or not and lying is a criminal act. Maybe even a felony (I haven't looked).

It may not seem like a big deal but I know a lawyer who was suspended for 2 years and jailed for 30 days for failing to disclose $10K in debt and child support obligations on a mortgage application. And the mortgage was always in good standing and had been repaid by the time it was discovered. In this instance, it was discovered because someone that leased office space from him committed loan fraud and the FBI went through every document anyone in the building produced. The jail term was a surprise...but the judge felt like he should be made an example of.


Ah ha. I have a feeling many don't disclose it. But, yes, I agree that aspiring lawyers should be extra scrupulous in following the law. Including, probably, by not using "medical" marijuana until it's federally legalized. But I think OP is going to be okay, especially if he consults a qualified adviser about this.




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