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KYC: Affirmative Due Diligence for Lawyers

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Business of Law |  Ethics |  Mindfullness |  Regulations
Jessica McElfresh |  Joslin E. Monahan |  Tom Firestone
1 Hour 25 Minutes
Audio and Video
Access for 6 month(s) after purchase.


Attorneys who represent cannabis industry clients need to be aware of both general anti-money laundering and know-your-customer practices as well as the high-risk nature of this particular industry.
After years of international pressure and the US Treasury's considerations of regulations that would hold attorneys accountable for their clients' money laundering abuses, the ABA is now considering model ethics guidance that aims to prevent lawyers from being used as instrumentalities in Bank Secrecy Act violations.
On top of that, cannabis industry attorneys face special Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer challenges given cannabis' current scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act, operators’ lack of
access to traditional banking services, and the myriad jurisdictional rules (municipal, county, and state) applicable to market participants.
In this CLE, you will learn about best practices and how to avoid common pitfalls in the rules of professional conduct. The panel will also provide an update on current proposals growing out of the attorney-as-gatekeeper discussion.



This program is eligible for 1.25 hours of General CLE credit in 60-minute states, and 1.4 hours of General CLE credit in 50-minute states. Credit hours are estimated and are subject to each state’s approval and credit rounding rules. 

INCBA webinars are eligible for credit in the following states: AR, AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT,DE, GA, HI, IL, IN, MN, MS, MO, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, WV, and WI . Additional states may be available for credit upon self-application by attendees. States typically decide whether a program qualifies for MCLE credit in their jurisdiction 4-8 weeks after the program application is submitted. For many live events, credit approval is not received prior to the program.

INCBA on demand programs are eligible for credit in the following states: AR, AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT,DE, GA, HI, IL, IN, MN, MS, MO, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, WV, and WI . Additional states may be available for credit upon self-application by attendees. States typically decide whether a program qualifies for MCLE credit in their jurisdiction 4-8 weeks after the program application is submitted.

For current accreditation status, please select your jurisdiction below.



Jessica McElfresh's Profile

Jessica McElfresh Related seminars and products


McElfresh Law, Inc.

Jessica C. McElfresh of McElfresh Law, Inc. has worked in cannabis law and policy since 2010. She is the Chair of the International Cannabis Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee and a member of its Board of Directors.  Jessica focuses on local and state applications, land use, regulatory compliance, and business law.  She represents cannabis retailers, distributors, cultivators, manufacturers, and testing labs, as well as landlords and ancillary businesses.  She has guided clients through successful applications in jurisdictions such as the City of San Diego, La Mesa, and the County of San Diego. 


Jessica has authored or advised on nearly ten local ballot measures to regulate cannabis businesses.  Successes include Measure U in La Mesa and Measure V in Lemon Grove in 2016 and Measure H in Encinitas in 2020.  As part of this work, Jessica has won writs of mandate at the local and appellate level to compel local governments and registrars of voters to accept petitions and count voter signatures.


Jessica represents people facing discipline or loss of state and local licenses, particularly in the cannabis industry.  She began her career in criminal defense and continues to take select cases.  Jessica has unique experience with the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege and the duties of an attorney under investigation or facing criminal charges. 


Outside of her law practice, Jessica is an advocate for cannabis and broader drug policy reform.  She is an advisory board member for A New PATH, an organization dedicated to promoting therapeutic rather than punitive drug policies.  Jessica served as a consultant for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California about how Proposition 64 affects criminal justice reform and individual rights. 


Jessica grew up in San Diego and graduated summa cum laude from Scripps College before attending the University of San Diego School of Law on a Dean’s Honor Scholarship.  She has spoken at conferences and taught continuing legal education classes for organizations and law schools including the National Cannabis Industry Association Business Summit & Expo, Practicing Law Institute, International Cannabis Bar Association, San Diego County Bar Association, and University of San Diego School of Law.  Her publications include “Attorney Ethics and Cannabis: Conflicts of Laws, Conflicts of Interest, and Attorney-Client Privilege for Cannabis Practitioners” (CLA Real Property Journal Vol. 38, No. 4 2020).


Joslin E. Monahan's Profile

Joslin E. Monahan Related seminars and products

Member Attorney

Miller Johnson

Joslin Monahan is a trial and appellate litigation attorney experienced in municipal, real estate, 

business, adversarial bankruptcy, and land use and zoning litigation. Ms. Monahan has a robust, 

full-service cannabis law practice serving individuals and companies that grow, produce, 

distribute and sell a wide variety of goods and amenities. 

Cannabis Law  

Ms. Monahan is a recognized authority in emerging cannabis law matters, including entity 

formation, applicant requirements and background checks, and licensing with Michigan’s 

Marijuana Regulatory Agency as well as municipal licenses, permits and ordinances. She 

counsels business interests in the cannabis industry, which encompasses marijuana, industrial 

hemp and CBD. Ms. Monahan has helped with financing structures, real property use, insurance 

coverage, dispute resolution, and regulatory compliance. 

Beginning in 2012, Ms. Monahan served as Cooperating Attorney with the ACLU of Michigan 

in the critical decision making process supporting the decriminalization of the possession and use 

of marijuana in Grand Rapids. Ms. Monahan continues to be a vocal advocate for social justice 

issues, with particular emphasis on ensuring participants within the cannabis space create 

opportunities for persons of color wherever possible. The Michigan Supreme Court denied 

further review of the signature case in 2015, affirming the Michigan Court of Appeals 2013 

dismissal of the prosecutor’s lawsuit. This case helped pave the way for the eventual vote 

legalizing cannabis for recreational use in a statewide ballot in 2018.   

Ms. Monahan is a member of the International Cannabis Bar Association (INCBA) and the State 

Bar of Michigan’s Marijuana Law Section. 

Tom Firestone's Profile

Tom Firestone Related seminars and products


Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

Tom Firestone is the co-chair of the firm’s White Collar & Internal Investigations practice and a member of the firm’s National Security/CFIUS/Compliance Practice Group. He specializes in complex transnational investigations and international risk management and represents companies and individuals before the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the Department of Treasury and other U.S. agencies.  His matters often involve the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and other sanctions laws, the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and other anti-money laundering laws, the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), and other federal criminal statutes related to business crime and national security. He has also represented individuals in proceedings before Interpol and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). He also regularly advises foreign governments on issues relating to anti-corruption and the rule of law.

Tom previously worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, where he specialized in the investigation and prosecution of transnational organized crime.  While with the Department of Justice, he also served as the Resident Legal Advisor and Acting Chief of the Law Enforcement Section at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and twice won the U.S. State Department Superior Honor Award.  He has testified as an expert before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and the UK House of Lords and is recognized by Best Lawyers in America in the area of white collar criminal defense. He is fluent in Russian and reads Polish and Bulgarian. 

Tom frequently comments on matters related to white collar crime and compliance. He also hosts The New Cold War: Risk, Sanctions, Compliance, a podcast explaining the convergence of national security and law enforcement through conversations with leading experts from the worlds of business, politics, journalism and academia.



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