Marijuana activists are putting up 5 billboard ads near the Superbowl

A fully budded marijuana plant ready for trimming is seen at the Botanacare marijuana store ahead of their grand opening on New Year's day in Northglenn, Colorado December 31, 2013. The world's first state-licensed marijuana retailers, catering to Colorado's newly legal recreational market for pot, are stocking their shelves ahead of their January 1, 2014, grand opening that supporters and detractors alike see as a turning point in America's drug culture. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES - Tags: DRUGS SOCIETY) Rick Wilking/Reuters

When the Denver Broncos face off against the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl on Sunday, they will be representing the only two states in the nation to have legalized recreational marijuana sales—something activists hope to change soon. And they’re renting out big billboards near the event to promote their cause.

Five billboards around New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium will show ads promoting the drug as safer than either football or alcohol, the Marijuana Policy Project, which was deeply involved in getting pot legalized in Colorado, announced in a release.

“Taking a big hit of marijuana poses less potential harm than taking a big hit from an NFL linebacker or a big shot of tequila,” MPP Director of Communications Mason Tvert said. The group also launched a petition calling for the National Football League to reduce penalties for players caught using the drug.

With little hope for federal action, the fight over legalization is currently exclusively focused on states, which have moved ahead on legalizing marijuana with the cautious and tacit approval of the Justice Department. Sales began in Colorado on Jan. 1 and are expected to begin soon in Washington. Alaskans may have their chance to approve sales in their state with a ballot vote this summer, and MPP hopes a handful of states will join the movement over the next few years.



Here are images of the billboards MPP is putting up:





 

Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post's state and local policy blog.
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