It would be hard for cannabis advocates to imagine a more favorable P.R. scenario. The only two states which have legalized (in a limited way) marijuana just sent their NFL teams to the big game for all the marbles: a 420-friendly clash between rival stoner cities Denver and Seattle. If your state legalizes cannabis, perhaps your team could be there next year!
It is currently against the rules for NFL players to use cannabis, even if they live in states where pot is legal. At least, that’s how they’ve been enforcing the collective bargaining agreement, which only bars the “illegal use” of marijuana, points out Pro Football Talk. Marijuana is legal in Colorado and Washington, and its medical use is legal in 20 states.
Probably due to the National Football League’s historically cozy relationship with alcohol manufacturers, the league has been unfriendly to cannabis, though recent statements from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seem to be opening the door, albeit a tiny crack, to the future possibility of allowing medical marijuana.
Goodell was asked if there would ever be a time when players in states where medical marijuana is legal, would be allowed to use it. Instead of answering with a flat no, Goodell said, “I don’t know what’s going to develop as far as the next opportunity for medicine to evolve and to help either deal with pain or help deal with injuries, but we will continue to support the evolution of medicine,” reports ESPN.com.
That’s the first pot talk from the NFL since November 2012, when Colorado and Washington voters legalized marijuana. At that time, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told USA Today that cannabis legalization “wouldn’t change anything.”
With viable legalization efforts underway in more than half a dozen states (including Oregon, California, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire and New Mexico) — and three recent national polls showing majorities of American voters favoring legalization — 2014 feels very much like a turning point in cannabis politics.