Drugs

'Pot-Friendly' Colorado to Regulate Marijuana Publications Like Porn

Three marijuana publications are suing the state for first amendment violations.

Photo Credit: SHUTTERSTOCK

Three marijuana publications sued the state of Colorado over a law that forces storeowners to sell “green” magazines behind the counter, the Associated Press reports.

The regulation in question is part of a larger regulatory law signed by Governor John Hickenlooper on Tuesday to create a legal market for recreational marijuana. The magazine provision regulates the sale of pot-friendly publications in stores open to shoppers under age 21.

As with pornography, all magazines with a pro-marijuana message will be tucked behind the counter, away from children’s eyes. According to AP, the provision was included under pressure from parents.

But the publishers of High Times, the Daily Doobie and the Hemp Connoisseursay the Centennial State is trampling on their first amendment rights. They argue that photos of pot leaves “do not sell or promote obscenity,” referencing the Constitutional clause that allows for stores to cover up pornography. If magazines aren’t obscene, then regulating their sale is a violation of free speech, the publishers argue.

“This bill specifically targets the content of plaintiffs' speech: marijuana,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiffs' speech is largely and often political, focusing on new and changing marijuana legalization and legislation.”

The lawsuit also argues that magazines centered on another substance, alcohol, aren’t regulated under Colorado law. This argument draws upon the name of the legal marijuana amendment Colorado voters passed in November: “The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012.”

 

Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.

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