Publications Sue Over Colorado Advertising Rules

Do Colorado’s laws governing recreational cannabis advertising violate the right to free speech?

That’s the focus of a new lawsuit launched by marijuana magazine High Times and Denver-based weekly newspaper Westword, which are suing Colorado in federal court over the state’s marijuana advertising rules.

Under those rules, recreational cannabis businesses can advertise in publications, radio stations or television channels, so long as they can prove that no more than 30% of the viewers or readers are under 21.

The publications argue that the law is unconstitutional because it restricts freedom of speech.

It’s not the first time the publications have filed suit. In 2013 they successfully sued to prevent a law that mandated marijuana-themed publications be kept behind the counter at newsstands and bookstores.

In the official complaint for the latest lawsuit, the publications state they are “chilled from soliciting advertising from prospective clients and prevented from making revenue from clients who wish to engage in advertising concerning marijuana-related products and services.”

It is unclear how often these publications are prevented from taking ads from recreational cannabis companies. Westword frequently publishes advertisements from local medical and recreational cannabis companies.