DENVER—Two things for which Colorado is known—the Denver Broncos and marijuana legalization—will be on display Thursday when the National Football League kicks off its 2013 regular season at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The Marijuana Policy Project unveiled a billboard Wednesday within a football’s throw of the stadium that calls on the NFL to stop punishing players who use marijuana.
“Stop Driving Players to Drink! A Safer Choice is Now Legal (Here),” says the 48-foot-wide billboard, with a backdrop featuring the Broncos’ team colors of orange and blue.
“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,” said Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, which sponsored the sign. “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.”
Tvert, who ran the successful 2012 legalization campaign in Colorado, said he has launched a petition at Change.org asking NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to scrap the policy.
The NFL season begins Thursday with a game between the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens. In a coincidence not lost on Broncos fans, Denver all-pro linebacker Von Miller will not play after being suspended for six games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana in last year’s election for adults 21. The Justice Department announced last week that it will allow the states to proceed with regulating sales and cultivation, even though marijuana is banned under the federal Controlled Substances Act.