First Amendment lawsuit filed over Colorado's new marijuana law

DENVER - A prominent Denver attorney has filed suit to block a provision of Colorado's new Amendment 64 law that requires marijuana-related magazines to be treated like pornography.

The law, signed Tuesday by Gov. John Hickenlooper, mandates that marijuana-related magazines be sold in marijuana stores or, if in other stores, that they be placed behind the counter.

"This content-based restriction on free speech went into effect (Tuesday) and plaintiffs are seeking an order from a federal judge enjoining the enforcement of this law," attorney David A. Lane said in a news release issued Wednesday.

House Bill 13-1317, which the governor signed into law, requires non-marijuana stores to place marijuana magazines "behind the counter in establishments where persons under twenty-one years of age are present."

Lane, who represents the Daily Doobie and Hemp Connoisseur, contends the content-based provisions of the law violate the First Amendment.

"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," Lane's complaint reads.

Lane argues that the plaintiff's magazines publish articles about marijuana legislation, regulation, political commentary and articles on a regular basis -- in addition to articles about the uses of recreational and medical marijuana -- and is protected by free speech.

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