Marijuana magazines as porn rule declared unconstitutional by state attorney general

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Last week, attorney David Lane, representing High Times and other publications, sued the state over a new marijuana-law provision that treats pot magazines like porn. Days later, the ACLU filed its own suit against the passage on behalf of newsstands and booksellers such as the Tattered Cover. Both parties were prepared for a fight but hoping to avoid one -- and to a large degree, their wish has come true. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has determined that the edict is unconstitutional and won't go to court to defend it.

As we've reported, the law originally known as House Bill 13-1317 calls for "a requirement that magazines whose primary focus is marijuana or marijuana businesses are only sold in retail marijuana stores or behind the counter in establishments where persons under twenty-one years of age are present."

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David Lane.
Constitutional concerns quickly arose over this edict, but it remained in the final version of the bill. Immediately after it passed, Lane sent an e-mail on the subject to Suthers. It reads in part, "My own personal belief is that this is a blatant First Amendment violation. It has apparently passed muster with the House and Senate and the governor will be signing it shortly. Please inform Governor Hickenlooper that if this is signed into law, he can expect a First Amendment law suit filed promptly."

Lane was as good as his word. The complaint, on view below, names as plaintiffs Trans-High Corporation, parent company of High Times, and two Colorado pubs, The Daily Doobie and The Hemp Connoisseur, also known as THC Magazine.

In the wake of the suit's filing, Lane told us the problems with the statute are "very, very simple.... The government cannot pick and choose which political messages they like and which political messages they dislike in the marketplace of ideas. The government has to stay completely on the sidelines, with very limited exceptions."

He added that "if the attorney general is smart -- and John Suthers is smart -- he will concede the point rather than fight about it and ultimately end up paying my exorbitant attorneys fees, which is what they'll do when they lose the case."

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A photo from Tattered Cover's Facebook page.
The ACLU filing, also shared here, reiterated Lane's points from a different angle. "Would a special issue of Time magazine that's focusing on marijuana or the legalization movement or something about enforcement come within the purview of this new statute?" asked ACLU of Colorado legal director Mark Silverstein in a subsequent interview. "And if there were a magazine that was devoted to the potential dangers of marijuana and persuading kids they should stay away from it, would it have to be kept behind the counter, too?"

Silverstein thinks so. "The way the statute is written, it would require that kind of magazine to be kept behind the counter as well. And surely the legislature wasn't intending to shield kids from anti-marijuana educational materials."

Prompted by the suits, Suthers quickly looked at the provision -- and found it wanting.

Continue for more about Colorado Attorney John Suthers decision about the marijuana magazines as porn rule, including photos and documents.


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32 comments
DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Hey Stoners, how many National Security Letters and FISA directives have already been issued against the "confidential" Medical Marijuana Patient/Caregiver Registry @ CDPHE?

Whoops! ... looks like you'll never know!

*** Internet companies cooperate with secret government program to mine users' data ***


WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person's movements and contacts over time.

The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been disclosed publicly before. Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy. Even late last year, when critics of the foreign intelligence statute argued for changes, the only members of Congress who know about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues.

PRISM is an heir, in one sense, to a history of intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s. The NSA calls these Special Source Operations, and PRISM falls under that rubric.

The Silicon Valley operation works alongside a parallel program, code-named BLARNEY, that gathers up "metadata" — address packets, device signatures and the like — as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet.

The NSA routinely collects a great deal of American content. That is described as "incidental," and it is inherent in contact chaining, one of the basic tools of the trade. To collect on a suspected spy or foreign terrorist means, at minimum, that everyone in the suspect's inbox or outbox is swept in. Intelligence analysts are typically taught to chain through contacts two "hops" out from their target, which increases "incidental collection" exponentially. The same math explains the aphorism, from the John Guare play, that no one is more than "six degrees of separation" from Kevin Bacon.

Formally, in exchange for immunity from lawsuits, companies like Yahoo and AOL are obliged accept a "directive" from the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to open their servers to the FBI's Data Intercept Technology Unit, which handles liaison to U.S. companies from the NSA. In 2008, Congress gave the Justice Department authority to for a secret order from the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court to compel a reluctant company "to comply."

"Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data," a company spokesman said. "We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully.

There has been "continued exponential growth in tasking to Facebook and Skype," according to the 41 PRISM slides. With a few clicks and an affirmation that the subject is believed to be engaged in terrorism, espionage or nuclear proliferation, an analyst obtains full access to Facebook's "extensive search and surveillance capabilities against the variety of online social networking services."

According to a separate "User's Guide for PRISM Skype Collection," that service can be monitored for audio when one end of the call is a conventional telephone and for any combination of "audio, video, chat, and file transfers" when Skype users connect by computer alone. Google's offerings include Gmail, voice and video chat, Google Drive files, photo libraries, and live surveillance of search terms.

Firsthand experience with these systems, and horror at their capabilities, is what drove a career intelligence officer to provide PowerPoint slides about PRISM and supporting materials to The Washington Post in order to expose what he believes to be a gross intrusion on privacy. "They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type," the officer said.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Hallelujah! ... the future of Pot Porn is Preserved for Posterity!

Behold the upcoming publications which will meld the important pillars of American Literature -- drugs + sex

Playbud
Hemp Hustler
Nuggs
Oui'd
Hot Asian Budtenders
Pothouse Forum
Big Black Buds

Yeah Baby! ... sign me up for lifetime subscriptions!

Jethro
Jethro

Suthers grows a brain -- and they're throwing snowballs in hell the same day!

shamanhawk
shamanhawk

You ought to watch "The People vs. Larry Flint" before making these egregious anti-Free Speech laws.  Some fools have short term memory loss and they aren't "stoned".  

The government is an embarrassment when it comes to the Drug War.  Every 42 seconds someone is arrested for Cannabis use or possession.   Mostly Black people. Ruining peoples lives in a democracy which has become a plutocracy run by oligarchs money. 

The Denver Post runs up the flag some right wing-nut anti-cannabis crazy claim at least one a week.  Last one is kids getting users candy and going to the hospital and being treated for somnolence ( a parenting problem).    Yea, almost sleeping or sleeping.  I think the number was 6 to 10.  Now how many gun shots of kids last year yet you don't see guns being banned?

These guys come up with laws without ANY research into the implications. 

KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

Hey David Lane--how about a lawsuit over equal treatment under the law--the unconstitutional ban on non MMC owners from applying or opening for over a year is clearly corrupt.  This language protects about 1,000 MMC owners and screws the rest of the people in the state. 

Monkey
Monkey

"He'd also like someone to explain to him "as a taxpaying citizen" how lawmakers could have allowed a passage so clearly at odds with the Constitution into such an important bill in the first place. As he puts it, "You would think a responsible adult in the legislature would have spoken up."

I thought the same thing on many new laws legislators passed this year, but I realized very quickly, there are few responsible legislators, and many aren't educated enough to understand the Constitution.

betweenthelines
betweenthelines

Make no mistake...These losers will 'try' to get way with ANY violation of your rights....Slaves  and the Constitution don't play well together, which is why they teach them to 'hate' it.....

Caren Kershner
Caren Kershner

Not a big Suthers fan, but he got this one right.

Testecleese
Testecleese

I figured placing $100 on David Lane to win was a sure bet.

DonkeyTroll
DonkeyTroll

Looks like DonkeyHotay was wrong again, lol.....

Daniel Hamilton
Daniel Hamilton

they are foolish to pass most of the laws they have in the last year.

CoreyDonahue
CoreyDonahue

Michael Roberts and the WASTEWORD should still get the black bag treatment for being shills and propagandists.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@shamanhawk ... Hustler Magazine has the RIGHT to be in every library of every grade school in the U$A!

... and not hidden behind the fucking counter!


Jethro
Jethro

@KathleenChippi David Lane is not a real pro-pot attorney. Like all the others. High Times paid him for this, he didn't do it for free.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Monkey ... and to think that many Legislators have law degrees ... and paid lawyers on staff ... perhaps it's time for a competency audit of the City Attorney's office or the AG's staff who are supposed to counsel the legislators ...BEFORE they violate the law.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@DonkeyTroll ... too bad the issue wasn't settled by a COURT of competent jurisdiction over the subject matter, instead of Suthers just being too lazy to argue the case.


RichDenver88
RichDenver88

@Daniel Hamilton They, being the democrats in the state legislature... yes

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@CoreyDonahue You know that you just helped generate ad revenue for "WASTEWORD" merely by clicking on the articles.  

CoreyDonahue logic: "I hate shit.  It stinks, and it looks terrible, and I hate hate hate it!"  *While enjoying a nice, steaming bowl of shit*

shamanhawk
shamanhawk

@DonkeyHotay @shamanhawk  

Two different point altogether.  Library of a grade school?  roflmfao  Every business has the right to have Free Speech displayed or not displayed.  I doubt the Grocery Stores are putting High Times on the bottom shelf of the magazines.  There are a lots of Violent Themed magazines there though. 

CloudGang
CloudGang

Not at all. Lets just keep brainwashing the kids and pretend Santa clause is real. Its all working out so great.....

CloudGang
CloudGang

Yeah right. The courts and the attorneys are one industry. They work for each other. So you think competent courts exist in America let alone Colorado? Of course you don't.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RichDenver88 ... because Repuglykkkans have a kinder, gentler drug policy, eh numbnuts?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@RichDenver88 ... the Dixiecrats who are all now -- and have been since Government Intervention FORCED them to abandon their bigoted repugnant segregationist laws --  core members of the Repuglycan / Teabagger parties.

They're still whining about "state's rights" ... i.e. the right to implement hateful racist laws without federal interference.


RichDenver88
RichDenver88

@DonkeyHotay Actually... this year... here in Colorado... YES they have, you sad, little troll... Oh and BTW, know your history, idiot. The kkk were the terrorist arm of the Dixiecrats...  

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