The fact that the two teams facing off at Super Bowl XLVIII, the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, both hail from states where marijuana use is legal has not eluded the pro-pot advocates of the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project. The lobbyist group has stationed five billboards promoting weed on the freeways around East Rutherford, New Jersey's MetLife Stadium, where the event will take place. The organization's Facebook post about the billboards says they're meant to "highlight the hypocrisy" of the NFL's marijuana policy. The group also has a petition asking the NFL to "stop punishing NFL players for using marijuana."
Four of the billboards make the claim that marijuana is less harmful to people's bodies than alcohol. "Why does the league punish us for making the safer choice?" two of the ads ask. Another shows a man passed out, holding a bottle, and a football player on the ground. Its slogan says, "Marijuana: Safer than alcohol . . . and football." The one billboard that does not focus on alcohol use states two statistics: "U.S. Marijuana Arrests: 2012 – 749,824; Total Attendance: Games XXXVII-XLVII – 751,203."
"Hopefully it's going to inspire people to talk to one another about marijuana and particularly its relative harms compared to alcohol and football," Mason Tvert, the Marijuana Policy Project's director of communications, told USA Today. Regarding the statistical billboard, Tvert said, "I think a lot of people will be shocked at just how many people are getting in trouble for using a less harmful substance than alcohol. When you're sitting in a full stadium and you think about the idea of everyone in there being arrested 10 times over, it really gets you thinking about just how many people that is."
Tvert also said that while he is in New York he hopes to deliver the organization's petition to NFL commissioner Roger Godell. So far, the petition has attracted over 12,000 signatures online.