News & Events

Chicago, February 18, 2020

Drumke Co-Authors ABA Resolutions Protecting Lawyers, Banks From Liability for Representing Marijuana Businesses

Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP partner Michael W. Drumke co-authored two resolutions adopted by the ABA House of Delegates yesterday urging federal legislation to shield lawyers and banks from criminal liability for providing services to state-legalized marijuana businesses.

The ABA Journal says under Resolution 103B, the ABA will lobby Congress for changes to federal laws so that lawyers do not face the threat of criminal charges when they represent clients in states that have legalized marijuana. Resolution 103D calls for the ABA to urge Congress to clarify and mandate federal laws to ensure that banks and other financial institutions can do business with marijuana businesses and attorneys in places where they are complying with state and local laws. Both resolutions were sponsored by the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) and were passed overwhelmingly.

According to the article: 

Michael Drumke, chair of the TIPS Cannabis Law and Policy Committee and a co-author of both resolutions, said lawyers should be able to represent cannabis clients without the fear they will be targeted for their work.

He noted prosecutions against attorneys are not unheard of. In 2017, San Diego attorney Jessica McElfresh faced felony charges for representing a marijuana business. The charges were dropped in 2018.

“It’s not really a clear system,” Drumke said in a recent phone interview. “You’re not supposed to aid and abet the commission of a federal crime. But under the model rules, clients are entitled to representation.”

In addition to chairing the TIPS Cannabis Law and Policy Committee, Drumke is a Governor for the Board of Governors, Member of the House of Delegates and Past Section Chair of TIPS. He is also co-chairs Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP's Cannabis Law Practice Group.

To read the full article, please visit the ABA Journal website.

<< Back

Share via Email
Recipient's Name: Enter the person or group's name to whom this page is going.
Recipient's Email: Enter up to five email addresses separated by a comma.
Your Name: Enter your name for recipient(s) to recognize and validate.
Your Email: Specify your email address so that recipients can respond directly.
Check this if you would also like to receive a copy of this page.