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Billboard by Broncos stadium encourages league to let players use marijuana instead of alcohol

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

The NFL's annual kickoff game will take place Thursday in Denver, so what better time for a pro-marijuana group to ask the league to discontinue punishment for its players who want to smoke some weed?

The Marijuana Policy Project purchased a billboard not far from Sports Authority Field at Mile High (your best "Mile High" joke goes here) to relay the message that marijuana is a safer choice than drinking, and publicly lobbied the NFL to change its policies on marijuana. Last year Colorado passed Amendment 64, allowing for the personal use of marijuana for adults. Washington passed a similar measure.

Would have to believe there won't be much mention of this on the NBC broadcast of the Broncos-Ravens game Thursday night.

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The 48-foot wide billboard, which is in Broncos colors and has a football leaning against a mug of beer, says "Stop driving players to drink! A safer choice is now legal (here)."

There is also a change.org petition asking NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to change the league's policy on marijuana use, which can be found at MarijuanaPolicy.org/Football. Marijuana is banned by the NFL, and repeated positive tests can draw a four-game suspension.

"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, said in a statement. "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."

It is true that the league has had some alcohol-related issues. The NFL has had plenty of drinking-related arrests through the years, including two Broncos front-office executives being arrested for driving under the influence this offseason. But we won't hold our breath while we wait for Goodell to change the league's marijuana policies.

[Watch: Can Ravens upset Broncos in opener?]

So instead, just relax and watch the game tomorrow night. Who's bringing the Cheetos?

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