The Weed Bowl: NFL Playoff Games Are in Marijuana Legalization Country

Make a Bud Bowl joke. DO IT.
The NFL loves booze. It's no coincidence that 10 Super Bowls have been played in New Orleans, the football-loving birthplace of the Mannings and notorious drinking town, where discarded go-cups line the festive path to the Superdome.

Alcohol is without a doubt the drug of choice among NFL fans -- a visit to the local liquor store reveals oodles of NFL-related advertising, and beer ads are a staple of any NFL broadcast, no matter how inane -- but this weekend something different is going down.

The NFL visits the capital cities of marijuana legalization in America.

Both Seattle and Denver, the biggest cities in the first states to legalize cannabis, are hosting conference championship games on Sunday. And the road teams -- including our own San Francisco 49ers -- are from areas that also have liberal cannabis laws.

What's this mean? Weed smoke in the tailgate area, for sure, but also a loosening of the NFL's notorious rules on drug use.

It is, of course, nothing but a coincidence that the two states that made drug reform history in Nov. 2012 would have successful playoff football teams in January 2014.

It is, however, becoming more and more likely that an NFL team would come from a place where at least some of the citizens can use cannabis legally: 20 states now allow some use of the drug. So sooner or later, weed smoke will scent a Lombardi trophy victory parade.

This has partially forced the NFL's hand on this issue, which for a long time was a non-starter. When weed went legal in Nov. 2012, league officials were quick to say that marijuana, which has wrecked a number of football careers, would remain a banned substance.

Possibly sensing the lunacy of banning players from the field for conduct freely and openly enjoyed by fans in the cities on national TV for eight hours on Sunday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell backed away from a hard-line stance and said that it was "possible" players would be allowed to use the drug.

From impossible to possible in 14 months. Not bad -- but in a league where chronic pain resulting in chemical dependency are common currency, it's literally high time.

To what extent marijuana has taken over fans' chemical preferences at Mile High Stadium in Denver or CenturyLink Field in Seattle remains to be seen. It's still illegal to consume marijuana in public in those cities. A blunt at the tailgate is still off-limits. though just three people were cited for using marijuana by Denver police on Sunday, according to spokesman Sonny Jackson (similar stats weren't handy from Seattle, but cops in both cities reported "no change" in fan behavior. Calls to the PR departments of the teams weren't returned Wednesday).

And none of this means much to the millions of NFL fans in football-mad places like Florida, Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Watching at home, they won't likely see much of this weekends' broadcasts dedicated to proselytizing for pot, nor will they see Super Bowl ads extolling weed's power (and with good reason: for the price of a 30-second Super Bowl commercial, you could run a ballot initiative campaign to legalize marijuana in California).

For now, with the New Hampshire legislature the first in the country on Wednesday to pass a legalization bill, legalization pushers have more important things to do that preach to football fans. But weed is on peoples' minds.

And "hopefully there will be a break in the beer commercials for a discussion of marijuana laws," said Mason Tvert, the Denver-based spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project (and the brains behind the simple TV ads pushing pot broadcast at NASCAR).

After all, "playing football is more dangerous to your health than smoking marijuana," he noted. So which one's illegal, and which one is a $9 billion business, again?

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Number of American deaths per year that result directly or primarily from the following selected causes nationwide, according to World Almanacs, Life Insurance Actuarial (death) Rates, and the last 20 years of U.S. Surgeon Generals' reports.

TOBACCO - 340,000 to 450,000

ALCOHOL  (Not including 50% of all highway deaths and 65% of all murders) - 150,000+

ASPIRIN  (Including deliberate overdose) - 180 to 1,000+

CAFFEINE  (From stress, ulcers, and triggering irregular heartbeats, etc.) - 1,000 to 10,000
"LEGAL" DRUG OVERDOSE  (Deliberate or accidental) from legal, prescribed or patent medicines and/or mixing with alcohol - e.g. Valium/alcohol - 14,000 to 27,000
ILLICIT DRUG OVERDOSE - (Deliberate or accidental) from all illegal drugs - 3,800 to 5,200

(Marijuana users also have the same or lower incidence of murders and highway deaths and accidents than the general non-marijuana using population as a whole. Cancer Study, UCLA; U.S. Funded ($6 million), First & Second Jamaican Studies, 1968 to 1974; Costa Rican Studies, 1980 to 1982; et al. LOWEST TOXICITY 100% of the studies done at dozens of American universities and research facilities show pot toxicity does not exist. Medical history does not record anyone dying from an overdose of marijuana (UCLA, Harvard, Temple, etc.)


Great comment. I agreed with you. All of it is nothing but someone's political agenda. Bringing sorrow to good people; separating families and ending dreams. Lots of old timers spent 20 or more years in jail for a simple weed case. 


The "War on Marijuana" has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful "War on Drugs" that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our tax dollars fighting a never ending "War on Marijuana", lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. It's a no brainer.

The Prohibition of Marijuana has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

Marijuana is way safer, and healthier to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

Let's end this hypocrisy now!

The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less "crimes" because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that's approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

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