Nothing is off-limits during Super Bowl week, including the subject of medical marijuana in the NFL.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is the latest to comment on the prospects of the league allowing players to use the drug to treat injuries and reduce pain.
Carroll didn't endorse or support medical marijuana use, but he acknowledged that the league should take an open-minded approach when it comes to the health and well-being of its players, per ESPN's Dan Graziano:
I would say that we have to explore and find ways to make our game a better game and take care of our players in whatever way possible. Regardless of what other stigmas might be involved, we have to do this because the world of medicine is doing this.
Marijuana is legal for recreational use in Colorado and Washington, and it's legal for medicinal use in 20 states, including the District of Columbia.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the polarizing issue at a news conference on Jan. 23, but he failed to provide many details or a timetable as to when the league could announce its stance on medical marijuana, per Graziano.
"We will follow medicine, and if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider that. Our medical experts are not saying that right now."
Don't expect this discussion to go away any time soon. According to USA Today's Laken Litman, several roadways outside of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.—the site of Super Bowl XLVIII—will feature massive billboards advocating the use of marijuana and criticizing the sport.
“Hopefully it’s going to inspire people to talk to one another about marijuana and particularly its relative harms compared to alcohol and football,” said Mason Tvert, the director of communications at MPP, courtesy of Litman.
“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,” Tvert said. “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.”
The advertisements will be paid for by the Marijuana Policy Project, with the goal being to generate thought and discussion about the topic.
It's not surprising that a players' coach like Carroll would be in favor of something designed to improve the quality of life for NFL players. However, it remains to be seen how meaningful Carroll's opinion on the subject really is.
Ultimately, those at the top will have to give the green light in order for the league to begin allowing medicinal marijuana. Further, the NFL would have to get around federal government and interstate commerce laws.