Governor Brown recently signed Assembly Bill 1159, which safeguards certain attorney/client communications. AB 1159, in now chaptered under Section 1550.5 is now added to the Civil Code.
Existing law grants a lawyer’s client a privilege to refuse to disclose, and to prevent another from disclosing, a confidential communication between the client and lawyer, as defined, if the privilege is claimed by the holder of the privilege, a person who is authorized to claim the privilege by the holder, or the person who was the lawyer at the time of the confidential communication, as specified. Existing law excepts communications from the privilege if the services of the lawyer were sought or obtained to enable or aid anyone to commit, or plan to commit, a crime or fraud.
Section 1550.5 This bill provides in part… (b) Notwithstanding any law, including, but not limited to, Sections 1550, 1667, and 1668 and federal law, commercial activity relating to medicinal cannabis or adult-use cannabis conducted in compliance with California law and any applicable local standards, requirements, and regulations shall be deemed to be all of the following:
- A lawful object of a contract.
- Not contrary to, an express provision of law, any policy of express law, or good morals.
- Not against public policy.
What this means it that so long as the lawyer was not sought or obtained to enable or aid anyone to commit or plan to commit a crime or a fraud, legal services rendered in compliance with state and local laws on medicinal cannabis or adult-use cannabis, and confidential communications provided for the purpose of rendering those services are confidential communications between client and lawyer, as defined in Section 952 of the Evidence Code, provided the lawyer also advises the client on conflicts with respect to federal law.