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Riddle me this: How does openly displaying a magazine centered on the culture of a previously illegal product -- that's now legal -- suddenly become illegal after the previously illegal product becomes legal?

I must admit, the logic behind this one particular provision in the newly signed into Colorado law, “The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012” escapes me. In one aspect of the law, it doesn't treat marijuana the same as it does alcohol at all.

Although I kinda wished I did, I don't live in Colorado. I don't know for a fact that previously to the referendum passed back in November, 'High Times' and other magazines about the marijuana culture were legally allowed to be openly displayed in the stores selling them. But if they were it makes absolutely no sense for that fact to change now that the subject of the magazines is suddenly legal.

But it has changed.

Alternet
 

Three marijuana publications sued the state of Colorado over a law that forces store owners 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.

Well, in that case: are publications centered on alcoholic beverages regulated in a similar way?

Not at all.

The lawsuit also argues that magazines centered on another substance, alcohol, aren’t regulated under Colorado law.
So, it's no surprise that the publishers of 'High Times', 'The Daily Doobie' and 'The Hemp Connoisseur' are all saying the law tramples on their First Amendment rights.

The magazines argue that photos of pot leaves...

"...do not sell or promote obscenity."
The statement is in reference to the clause in Colorado's state constitution saying stores must cover up pornographic publications. But the magazine publishers argue that if magazines aren't obscene, then regulating their sale in this manner is a violation of free speech.
“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.”
Sounds pretty logical to me.

Listen, I know this whole legalization of recreational marijuana is new to Colorado. New laws sometimes have kinks that must to worked out. But the law should be consistently applied. Drinking alcoholic beverages is not only more mentally-impairing than smoking marijuana; it's also more physically-impairing, and much more addictive. Consequently, if the display of alcoholic-themed magazines is not considered obscene, then neither should the display of marijuana-themed publications.

This is not brain surgery.

Here's the original AP article.

Originally posted to markthshark on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 03:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

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