The 40th-anniversary issue of High Times, which hits newsstands next week, includes ads for two Colorado-based marijuana businesses. As I explain in my latest Forbes column, those ads may violate Colorado's onerous restrictions on pot-related speech, which the magazine is challenging in federal court. Here is how the piece begins:
High Times, the flagship publication of a cannabis counterculture that is rapidly going mainstream, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. "We have been steadfast soldiers in this so-called War on Drugs," writes Editor in Chief Chris Simunek in a special issue that will appear on newsstands next week, "with truth as our sword and the First Amendment as our shield."
The First Amendment has protected High Times, and High Timeshas tried to return the favor. Last year the magazine was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging a Colorado law that required merchants to keep marijuana-focused publications behind the counter. The sponsor of that provision, a Republican representative from Colorado Springs named Bob Gardner, likened such periodicals to pornography. The law was so clearly unconstitutional that Colorado Attorney General John Suthers decided not to enforce it. Now High Times is seeking to overturn Colorado's onerous restrictions on marijuana advertising, which ostensibly are aimed at protecting impressionable children but probably have more to do with protecting disapproving adults.