For only the second time in U.S. history, a state Bar Association has added a Marijuana Law Section to their recognized platform of specialties. Michigan joins Colorado as the only two states with this program, thanks to the efforts of Lapeer criminal defense attorney Bernard Jocuns.
Jocuns (pronounced JOCK-uhns) was notified by Candace Crowley of the State Bar on July 24 that the Marijuana Law Section was approved by the Bar's Board of Commissioners. "This was a very thorough process," Jocuns said, and praised the Association for being bold enough to give the green light to the proposal.
"For the attorneys that are interested we will form a coherent voice, plan for various changes in law and help attorneys prepare for that," Jocuns explained. "We will be very pro-active. The more participation we get, the more specialized we can be."
The Michigan Bar has "over 35,000 attorneys," Jocuns explained, all of whom are required to register every year. Membership begins at $65 per year and "attorneys can sign up when they renew their Bar Association membership in the fall," Jocuns added.
Jocuns was required to submit the names of 50 lawyers willing to sign up before he could apply to the Board. "From the interest I've received, we should start out with a couple hundred attorneys in the first year," Jocuns said.
The Section was initiated with Jocuns as the Chair and respected Michigan attorney Mary Chartier as Secretary/Treasurer. Officers will be elected to fill leadership positions in the Section during a Michigan Bar Association meeting in Novi at the Suburban Collection Showplace slated for early October.
Although Jocuns and Chartier both do criminal defense work the Section is open to attorneys specializing n all areas of law that deal with marijuana, cannabusinesses or business in general. "If this was just an organization of criminal defense lawyers, that would defeat the purpose," Jocuns explained. "Our Statement of Necessity reflects that cannabis affects all aspects of the law."
He described the Section as "different specialties of law coming together." A previous TCC article announcing Jocuns' intent to form the Marijuana Law Section inspired attorneys from across the legal spectrum to email him.
"I was elated to find out that attorneys from bankruptcy, family law, worker's comp, business transactions and so on were interested in joining the Section."
Based on the previous TCC article, Jocuns has already been contacted by interested parties from other state who would like to duplicate his success. "New York state, for sure," he revealed, "the others I don't want to say yet."
Colorado's version of Michigan's Marijuana Law Section is called the Cannabis Law Committee of the Colorado Bar Association. Their website contains links to resources like a federal tax guide for marijuana businesses and a guide for real estate attorneys who work with cannabusinesses.
Attorneys interested in participating can contact Jocuns through his office, at 810 245-8900 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: The Compassion Chronicles