Denver, Seattle rooting for Marijuana Bowl?
If all goes as oddsmakers have predicted, the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will win the conference championship games on Sunday and gear up for what will be a Super Bowl for the ages.
Not because of the talents that will be going head to head, but the first ever Marijuana Bowl? That’s something you don’t hear every day.
These two teams represent the major cities in Colorado and Washington, the only states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said that if this ends up being the matchup for the Super Bowl, it will be featuring "the two most pro-cannabis-legalization cities in the US." He joked that the game should be renamed "The Super Oobie Doobie Bowl."
The legalization hasn’t been a free-for-all among everyone though.
When Jan. 1 came around and Colorado opened its pot shops, it was legal to buy and use the drug on the state level. However, it is still illegal for NFL players who live in the state to use marijuana because it violates the drug policy under the current collective bargaining agreement. The same will go for Washington when their pot doors open this spring.
The NFL is getting pressured by lobbyists to stop penalizing players for smoking pot, saying it could be helpful for getting through concussions and other injuries.
The lobbyists are also calling attention to the fact the league is fond of the alcohol industry, such as their relationship with Anheuser-Busch. They pitch Bud Light as the "proud sponsor of the NFL" and even had some ads in rotation showing Budweiser and Bud Light bottles going head-to-head in what they called a "Bud Bowl" game.
Mason Tvert, spokesperson for the pro legalization Marijuana Policy Project in Denver thinks there are more important topics to be discussed instead of getting drowned out in all the beer ads. "Hopefully there will be a break in the beer commercials for some discussion about marijuana laws," he said.
A 48-foot-wide billboard was put up in September by the organization next to Denver’s Sports Authority Field at Mile High, insisting that the NFL needs to "stop driving players to drink" and the "safer choice" for athletes was actually pot. A petition was launched by the group in efforts to get NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to change the league’s marijuana policy.
Steve Fox, who works for a marijuana-industry law firm in Denver, wonders since the National Hockey League only tests for performing-enhancing drugs, why can’t the NFL do the same? He could have a point since marijuana is not a drug that gives any player a physical edge.
"It won’t be long before it’s unique to have two teams in the Super Bowl that haven’t made marijuana legal," Tvert said.
For the states where marijuana is outlawed completely, they’ve actually had a difficult time in the postseason. The Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals all come from states that have not decriminalized pot. Go figure.
"If you noticed, the more marijuana-friendly localities really kicked butt," Fox said. "I don’t know what it really means in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a nice bit of karma if nothing else."
Pot legalization in a state making teams more successful? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.