“Why is everybody so riled up about the picture of a plant?” asked Ann Jordan, owner and operator of High-ly Legal Colorado, when turned down this month for a free-standing kiosk at the Denver Airport slated to sell boxer-shorts, leaf adorned socks, and “pot-flops” filp-flops. These items are already being sold throughout the Denver-area in various music stores.
A policy already existed from 2012 making possession of Cannabis and Cannabis advertising illegal at the Denver and Colorado Springs airports. Although 29 people were found have Cannabis in their possession, the authorities at the Denver Airport used their discretion to not prosecute, and allow those individuals to board their planes after discarding their Cannabis.
The forsaken owner is considering a lawsuit while aware that it may have little traction, as an airport has a unique power to decide over the concession, and it’s contents and even over free-speech. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1992 deemed airport terminals as not public forums, taking the side of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to prohibit a religious group from handing out pamphlets.
Airport spokesman Heath Montgomery and others fear what kind of image and message this could send to those visiting the airport.
“Frankly, there’s a lot more to Colorado than pot,” Montgomery said.
Yet in the very space where the appearance and “message” are so diligently looked after by many people, a large piece of that real estate consists of “Colorado on Tap: The State of Brew Culture.” Plenty of memorabilia depicting beer is available, and is supported by over 250 businesses. With even the Governor getting in on the deal by holding Colorado up as “a mecca for quality beer.” – Gov. John Hickenloope
To get into the nitty-gritty of the ban, you cannot show the plant, leaf, the word “marijuana,” or publications whose only focus is marijuana (presumably, according to the rules, a book with fifteen chapters on pot and one on witch hazel would be allowed). However, the authorities know that they can’t cover all the bases by banning puns or the ubiquitous “Rocky Mountain High.”
Montgomery says: “There’s only so much we can do.”
It looks like a very long standing stigma will have to be broken down, and perhaps when over 200 legal Cannabis business show up one day to support their own wing of the airport, then there will be change of heart.