Pro-Marijuana Billboards to Target NFL Drug Policy at Super Bowl

Sarah Jean Seman

1/29/2014 1:29:00 PM - Sarah Jean Seman

The thousands of heated fans who crowd into MetLife Stadium Sunday might be stirred to debate something other than the winner of Super Bowl XLVIII. The Marijuana Policy Project confirmed five pro-marijuana billboards will appear around the stadium advocating for the National Football League to allow players to use the drug. Their reasoning? It is “safer than football.”

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The Florida Supreme Court also ruled Monday to include weed legalization on the November 2014 ballot. With its expanding acceptance, Sports Illustrated took time to consider how the drugs expanding acceptance could affect athletes:

Marijuana's gradual legalization has profound implications for the NFL and its players, many of whom rely on powerful and addictive painkillers. Advocates for the drug maintain that it can help players safely cope with pain and may even help them recover from concussions.

Under current rules, NFL players cannot use marijuana. The drug is expressly prohibited by the drug and substance abuse policy agreed to by the NFL and the NFLPA. This prohibition is not unique as the NBA and MLB and their respective players' associations also ban marijuana. The prohibition is also not surprising because federal law criminalizes marijuana (cannabis) as a Schedule 1 prohibited substance under the Controlled Substances Act.

...An NFL player who tests positive for marijuana is subject to the same penalty scheme as if he tested positive for cocaine or heroin. While a player who tests positive once for these drugs generally receives intervention, with no accompanying fine or suspension, a second-time positive test can lead to a dramatically different punishment: up to a four-game unpaid suspension -- a quarter of a season -- or longer if he's a repeat offender. Retired running back Ricky Williams received several suspensions in his NFL career for marijuana-related offenses. In 2011, Broncos linebacker Von Miller tested positive for cannabis. Last September, he received a six-game suspension, which cost him $806,162 in salary.

In addition to the billboard featured as the main photograph, these are the ads that will be blitzing the Super Bowl:

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2. To demonstrate their objective point, they emphasized it applies to both the Seahawks and the Broncos by using both team colors.

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