With ink barely dry, Colorado’s new pot laws head to court

Colorado’s new laws regulating legal marijuana were only on the books for a day before a lawsuit was filed by a group of pot magazines.

The publications High Times, Doobie Daily and Hemp Connoisseur filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday claiming that a provision of the new laws violate their First Amendment rights.

It requires pot-themed magazines be sold only in marijuana retail stores or be kept behind the counter at stores where people under 21 are present, a requirement that’s even more restrictive than for pornography.

Prior to Tuesday, when Gov. John Hickenlooper signed several bills regulating legal marijuana, the magazines — and many others like them — could be found on the shelves of most major booksellers and newsstands without any rules as to where they could be placed and displayed.

Attorney David Lane, who is representing the magazines, had warned that a lawsuit would be filed quickly if Hickenlooper signed the bills.

“By imposing these content-based restraints on the speech by prohibiting plaintiffs from freely distributing and publicizing their message, defendants are depriving plaintiffs of their rights to free speech and the public’s right to hear a speaker, which are guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and were protected under law until this statute went into effect,” the complaint reads.

“This bill specifically targets the content of Plaintiffs’ speech: marijuana.”

This is the second lawsuit over new rules governing the adult recreational use of marijuana, which Colorado voters approved in November.