DENVER (AP) — A Colorado law to require marijuana magazines to be sold behind the counter like pornography is being abandoned before it takes effect.
State lawyers indicated Monday they don’t want to go back to court to talk about the recently enacted law that would have made Colorado in an unusual position. It would have been one of only two states to allow recreational weed, but the only state not to allow magazines like High Times to be sold on general newsstands.
Scheduled to take effect July 1, the law would have required magazines about pot to be kept behind the counter in stores that allow shoppers under 21. The measure didn’t set an age limit to buy the magazines.
The unusual requirement was added to a broader marijuana regulation law signed May 28. It was added to the regulations after parents complained the magazines promote the drug to children.
In an agreement filed in U.S. District Court Monday, the state agreed with a group of suing booksellers that the limitation “is void and unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
Judge Richard Matsch didn’t immediately rule on the agreement. In a scheduling conference last week, the judge denied the state’s request to dismiss the booksellers’ lawsuit. He ordered Colorado to respond to the lawsuit, even though Attorney General John Suthers and the state Department of Revenue issued an emergency rule blocking enactment of the magazine limit.
The rule would have expired in 120 days, unless it was renewed by the Department after public hearings.
Three magazine publishers, including High Times, filed a similar lawsuit. Booksellers and newsstands issued a statement praising Monday’s agreement.
“The agreement today confirms that the state cannot prosecute booksellers for giving their customers access to material that is fully protected by the Constitution simply because the Legislature does not agree with the message,” wrote Joyce Meskis of Tattered Cover Book Store, a plaintiff in the suit.
A spokeswoman for Suthers, Carolyn Tyler, confirmed the agreement but wouldn’t elaborate on it pending Matsch’s approval of the agreement.
Kristen Wyatt can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/APkristenwyatt
Read the agreement: https://ecf.cod.uscourts.gov/doc1/03914658908
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