Though marijuana legalization has come a long way in the US, hundreds of thousands of people are still arrested every year for petty possession offenses, among other cannabis-related offenses.
These arrests aren’t limited to states where marijuana remains prohibited. In states that have legalized cannabis, people can still be arrested on suspicion of breaking marijuana possession limits or for distributing cannabis without a license.
This means many people still need a competent legal defense for marijuana-related charges to avoid jail time.
This begs the questions, where do you start looking for a marijuana attorney? And how do you know which cannabis attorney to choose?
Finding a local marijuana attorney online using a web directory is an obvious first step.
Marijuanareferral.com, for instance, provides profiles of cannabis attorneys and allows you to search using a map, making it easier to find a marijuana attorney near you.
Another option is to make use of the state marijuana law pages on here on Marijuana and the Law, where you can find our recommendations for vetted cannabis attorneys based in your state.
What are the key considerations you have to make when choosing a cannabis attorney though?
Here’s some general points to keep in mind to help you with your search.
1. Case Experience
You need a lawyer specialized in cannabis law. Don’t settle for anything less.
If you are in contact with an attorney specialized in another branch of law, then you could ask them to recommend someone who practices marijuana law.
Don’t go for the first name you get. Draw up a list of potential marijuana attorneys, then delve into their case history. How long have they practiced as a licensed attorney? How many cannabis cases have they worked on?
Their case history will give you an insight into their track record. How many cases did they win? How many cases were settled out of court?
Many lawyers are more concerned with protecting their reputation than winning your case, so they pressure their clients into settling for a lesser conviction.
2. Professional Standing
Make sure to check your local bar association’s website to check that the marijuana lawyer you’re considering is a member.
If they’re not there, there’s a good chance they’re not licensed and that would make them a no go.
These sites will also tell you if they are a part of a local law association.
While the latter is perhaps not crucial, it gives you an insight into how well-regarded your attorney is likely to held among their peers.
Testimonials are the most direct way of getting an idea of what it would be like to work with a particular cannabis attorney.
Obviously, positive testimonials from friends and family carry a great deal of weight, but online reviews posted on reputable sites like Marijuana Referral are also valuable.
Also, don’t hesitate to ask the marijuana attorney you’re considering to put you in touch with a previous client so you can discuss their experiences with them.
4. Courtroom Experience
Not all marijuana charges end up in court, but if it does you want to be sure your attorney is up to the task.
If they have no experience in court and it’s possible that you will have to face a trial, then you might want to reconsider your options.
5. The Attorney’s Firm
You might get excited about an attorney you’ve found and clicked with, but it’s possible they may not work on your case due for a number of reasons.
In such an event, if time is tight, you may have to work with another attorney from the same law firm.
For this reason, it’s important to look into the law firm that the cannabis attorney you’re considering works for to make sure other lawyers would be just as competent.