June 6, 2013 Updated: June 6, 2013 at 1:00 pm
DENVER - Pot magazines won't be treated like pornography in Colorado, despite a recently enacted law forcing marijuana-themed magazines behind the counter for stores that allow minors.
Booksellers, magazine publishers and newsstands challenging the law were scheduled to meet with a federal judge Thursday afternoon in an effort to block the law, which takes effect July 1. It would be the nation's only requirement of its kind to take marijuana-themed magazines off general store racks.
However, the state agency regulating the newly legal drug issued an emergency rule Wednesday nulling the magazine provision in the law. The Department of Revenue order, made in consultation with the state attorney general, says the magazine restriction violates First Amendment rights and shouldn't be in the law.
"A rule that restricts such sale of magazines is not consistent with the constitution," explained Carolyn Tyler, a spokeswoman for Attorney General John Suthers.
A U.S. District Judge hearing the legal challenge could dismiss the suit Thursday, though it wasn't immediately clear what he'd order. The state's decision to abandon the magazine rule is permanent, subject to formal rule review hearings scheduled for August.
The magazine requirement was part of a larger set of laws enacted to state how the newly legal drug should be grown and sold. The behind-the-counter restriction was adopted after parents testified that their children should be protected from exposure to magazines touting the drug, which remains illegal under federal law.
The resulting law left Colorado in an unusual position - one of only two states to allow recreational use of the drug, while also the only state to restrict the display of publications about marijuana. The state's decision to reject the magazine restriction was applauded by marijuana legalization activists.
"The idea that stores can prominently display magazines touting the joys of drinking wine and smoking cigars, yet banish those that discuss a far safer substance to behind the counter, is absolutely absurd," wrote Mason Tvert, who campaigned for Colorado's pot law and now is spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project.
Marijuana magazine order: http://bit.ly/19Lt17v