Sunday, June 9, 2013
Colorado officials correctly surmised a new law requiring marijuana magazines to be hidden away is unconstitutional.
Colorado's bureaucracy appears to have exhaled with Thursday's declaration that a law requiring marijuana magazines to be regulated like pornography is unconstitutional.
The provision of law in question was tucked into a larger bill passed this year regulating marijuana, legislation that contained many sensible and needed regulations on the sale of recreational pot, which voters approved last year.
We supported the overall bill.
But a fly in this ointment was a requirement in the bill 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."
The government can regulate the time, place and manner of free speech if there is compelling governmental interest, but it can't just bar minors from being able to look at or purchase certain publications unless we're talking about obscenity.
We said when the law was passed that it was not only dumb but obviously unconstitutional, and it didn't take long for attorneys representing pot-themed publications and booksellers to challenge the law in federal court on First Amendment grounds.
The intent of the law no doubt was to keep marijuana-themed publications out of the hands of impressionable young people, lest they be tempted to try pot before turning 21.
But as Mark Silverstein, legal director of the Colorado ACLU pointed out to Westword magazine, as written, the law actually could have been applied to publications aimed at discouraging marijuana use also.
In any case, though, did the state really want to be publicly bested in court by High Times, The Daily Doobie and Hemp Connoiseur?
Obviously not, as the state Thursday said it would ask that the case be dismissed because of "mootness."
The Marijuana Enforcement Division itself declared the law unconstitutional, an appraisement shared by Attorney General John Suthers. The state Thursday issued an emergency rule barring enforcement of the regulation, flatly acknowledging "such a requirement would violate the United States Constitution, the Colorado Constitution and (state law)."
Carolyn Tyler, spokeswoman for Suthers, stated the painfully obvious. "We support the laudable goal of keeping retail marijuana out of the hands of those under 21, but that has to be consistent with the Constitution," she said.
We're glad to see Suthers throwing dirt over this turkey.
By The Denver Post Editorial Board
Source: The Denver Post
Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will begin his post-political life as a partner at the same law firm that represented British Petroleum during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the gulf coast -- an environmental calamity for which Salazar was sharply criticized for not keeping offshore drillers on a tight enough leash.
|Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar|
"Our job basically is to keep the boot on the neck of British Petroleum," Salazar said at the time, after he had become the face for what many critics saw as a failure of governmental oversight and lax policies that contributed to the disaster.
Environmental groups called for his firing and he was grilled before Congress, where he promised to overhaul the agency responsible for monitoring offshore oil drilling. That criticism prompted the government to take a hard line with BP, as Salazar's "boot on the neck" comment illustrated.
In his new position, Salazar promised that he wouldn't benefit from BP by joining the legal firm, telling the Denver Post that WilmerHale will separate the money it made from the company and that none will be used to pay him.
"I am not going to represent BP, and I'm not going to make any money from BP now or ever," he told the paper.
In a statement posted on its website, WilmerHale said that Salazar will provide "legal, strategic and policy advice to national and international clients, particularly on matters at the intersection of law, business and public policy. He will draw on his deep experience in energy, environmental and natural resources, and tribal issues to assist the firm's clients."
The company is opening a Denver office to be anchored by Salazar, a native Coloradoan who served as state attorney general and as U.S. Senator from 2004-2008.
"I am proud to join WilmerHale, one of the nation's top law firms," Salazar said in the statement. "It handles some of the most complex legal matters, and has a longstanding commitment to public service, civil rights and social justice. I look forward to leading WilmerHale's entry into the Rocky Mountain region, which is integral to the growing national and global economy."
WilmerHale has represented a wide array of clients, including former presidents Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton; major corporations like HSBC, Chrysler Group and Proctor & Gamble; and pro bono clients like the country of Sierra Leone, Guantanamo Bay prisoners and the Coalition for the Homeless.
By Greg Campbell
Source: The Daily Caller