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NFL to players in Colorado and Washington: Pot is still a problem

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

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Sorry, guys -- there's still a 'No Smoking' sign in Roger Goodell's office. (Getty Images)

If you're into loco weed, you happen to play for a team in Colorado or Washington state, and you think that the bills passed on Tuesday that allow the possession and use of marijuana apply to you ... well, you might want to check on that. According to the NFL, there's state law and the league's collective bargaining agreement, and players should expect to heed the latter if there's a dispute.

"The NFL's policy is collectively bargained and will continue to apply in the same manner it has for decades," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told USA Today's Lindsay Jones on Wednesday morning. "Marijuana remains prohibited under the NFL substance abuse program."

[Related: MLB won't alter rules after Colorado and Washington pot news]

In Colorado, Proposition 64 allows state residents over the age of 21 to possess an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants in their homes. Washington's I-502 allows similar possession limits. There will be legal limits established to judge impaired driving per I-502, and pot will be taxed. It's estimated that taxation and legalization could raise as much as $2 billion in revenue for Washington state over the next five years. That revenue will be earmarked for education, health care, substance abuse prevention and government services.

"The whole country is going to wake up and look at Washington state and recognize this is the beginning of taking apart prohibition one state at a time," I-502 supporter Rick Steves said.

Others, like Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, were less than pleased with the results. "Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don't break out the Cheetos too quickly," he said.

Hickenlooper does have a point, and there may be complications arising from the differences in state and federal law. It's entirely possible that the federal government could sue to repeal state legalization, and federal law does take precedence. Clearly, the NFL feels that its laws do, as well.

"The Colorado and Washington laws will have no impact on the operation of the policy," Aiello said.

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