DENVER, CO — A billboard calling on the National Football League to stop punishing players for using marijuana was posted Wednesday in front of Sports Authority Field at Mile High, just one day before the Denver Broncos host the first NFL regular season game of the year.
The 48-foot-wide Broncos-themed billboard highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol and urges the NFL to “stop driving players to drink” with harsh penalties for marijuana use, noting that, “A safer choice is now legal (here).”
Colorado voters approved an initiative in November making marijuana legal for adults, and the U.S. Department of Justice announced last week that it will allow the state to move forward with regulating marijuana cultivation and retail sales.
The organization that produced the ad, the Marijuana Policy Project, has also launched a Change.org petition directed at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, calling on the NFL to change its marijuana policy. The petition can be found at here.
“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, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. “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.”