New Jersey probably looks a lot like home to the Denver Broncos. The billboards, anyway. The Marijuana Policy Project, one of the main groups behind the push to legalize marijuana possession in Colorado, posted advertisements on billboards near Mile High Stadium before the first game of the Broncos’ season on Sept. 5.
Now the group has spent $5,000 to rent several 60-foot-wide billboards in New Jersey, within easy driving distance of MetLife Stadium, where the Broncos will play the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday. Three of the billboards face Interstate 78 near the New Jersey Turnpike toll plaza in Newark, Route 495 leading to the Lincoln Tunnel west of Routes 1 and 9 in North Bergen, and Interstate 80 near the turnpike in Hackensack. The others are on the Garden State Parkway near the Raritan toll plaza north of Sayreville.
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The message is directed at the National Football League, just as it was in Denver, and is repeated in a petition the marijuana group plans to deliver to the N.F.L. on Wednesday. “Why are players punished for making the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol?” asked Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the group. “In Colorado and Washington State, this is now a legal product, and the N.F.L. has no legitimate reason to be policing marijuana use by players.”
Colorado became the first state to permit the sale and use of marijuana for recreational purposes when government-licensed shops opened on Jan. 1. Marijuana retailers will open in a few months in Washington State.
New Jersey legalized medical marijuana in 2010 when Jon S. Corzine was governor; last year, Gov. Chris Christie set rules that curbed the strength of marijuana that could be distributed and prohibited home deliveries, among other things.
And as for professional football, the N.F.L. commissioner, Roger Goodell, indicated last week that the league might reconsider its policy on marijuana for medicinal purposes, if research showed that it was a viable treatment for concussions. There is also a lighter side to the discussion of marijuana and the Super Bowl. There have been many jokes about how Super Bowl XLVIII will be the “stoner bowl” because the Broncos and the Seahawks are from the two states that have moved to legalize marijuana. Bryan Weinman said that was the instigation for the website www.stonerbowl.org.
“It got hatched over a table of beers before the playoff games,” said Mr. Weinman, who has been a nightclub D.J. in Denver.
He added that he and several friends “got to joking about what happens if Denver and Seattle ended up in the S.B., how many endless puns would be made by the average individual.”
“We got the easy ones out of the way,” he continued, “and it evolved into somebody saying, ‘What would happen if we put some of this on a T-shirt?’ ”
And no, he said, they are not marijuana users themselves.
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