On May 28th, Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado signed off on several new restrictions on recreational marijuana. Unfortunately, one of the restrictions trampled on the Freedom of Speech rights of publications that focus on cannabis coverage. Included in the new laws was a requirement that stores who sell such magazines must keep them out of view of the public.
Thankfully on June 5th, state Marijuana Enforcement Division regulators declared the law unconstitutional. Attorney General John Suthers signed off on their ruling. A statement from his office read: “No magazine whose primary focus is marijuana or marijuana businesses is required to be sold only in retail marijuana stores or behind the counter in establishments where persons under twenty-one years of age are present, because such a requirement would violate the United States Constitution [and] the Colorado Constitution.”
HIGH TIMES, The Daily Doobie, and Hemp Connoisseur had filed a joint lawsuit to block the law. Understandably, David Holland, legal counsel for HIGH TIMES magazine, was elated by the decision. “We teamed up with excellent legal counsel in David Lane,” Holland said following the Attorney General’s decision. “Even the state of Colorado quickly realized the unconstitutional nature of the restriction and took efforts to correct it by a legislative action rather than receive a scolding from the courts.”
Not surprisingly, those who wrote the law cited concerns that children would be exposed to marijuana advertising in adding the restriction. The fact that children are bombarded on a daily basis with alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical advertising, which promotes substances that are demonstrably harmful, obviously never occurred to Colorado lawmakers.