One day before the Denver Broncos will host the Baltimore Ravens and kick off the 2013 NFL season, a pro-pot group has put up a billboard outside Sports Authority Field at Mile High urging the league to rethink its policy on allowing players to smoke weed.
The 48-foot-wide billboard tells the NFL to “stop driving players to drink,” while noting that voters in Colorado and Washington have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. "A safer choice is now legal (here),” the billboard states.
Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, says the group has also launched a Change.org petition to try and convince NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to update the league’s policy.
"For years, the NFL has been punishing players for using marijuana despite the fact that it is far less harmful than alcohol, a substance widely embraced by the league," Tvert said in a statement. "The league would never punish a player simply for having a couple beers, so why does it penalize them for using a substance that is less toxic, less addictive, and less likely to contribute to violence.
"The NFL's harsh marijuana penalties do nothing to promote the health and safety of the players," Tvert said. "If anything, they put players in danger by steering them toward using alcohol and away from making the safer choice to use marijuana instead. We hope Commissioner Goodell will explain why the NFL is willing to promote the use of alcohol among its players and fans, but unwilling to recognize that a safer alternative is now legal here."
Shortly after Colorado and Washington legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults, the NFL issued a statement making clear that the league did not plan to soften its stance against the drug.
"The NFL's policy is collectively bargained and will continue to apply in the same manner it has for decades," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told USA Today last November. "Marijuana remains prohibited under the NFL substance abuse program."