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Pot Groups Wage Weed-Friendly Bets To Highlight Reform In Super Bowl States

DENVER (CBS) - The Colorado and Washington chapters of the marijuana reform organization NORML have agreed to a cannabis-based bet to highlight the upcoming Super Bowl, which features respective teams from the two states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana.

Next week's Super Bowl matchup between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks will allow the two chapters of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) to take their weed-friendly wager to the national stage.

"Bud Bowl. Weed Bowl. Fill a Bowl. Stoner Bowl. Super Stupor Bowl. Whatever you call it, the teams from Denver and Seattle are in it to win it! And so are cannabis consumers!" reads a statement from NORML.

"If the Denver Broncos win, WA NORML has agreed to dress in Bronco colors of blue and orange and sing Karaoke-style Colorado's (second) official state song "Rocky Mountain High" by John Denver. If the Seattle Seahawks win, CO NORML will do the same, but in Seahawk blue and green and singing "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix, a native son of Seattle."

A video performance will be featured on the groups' Facebook pages and YouTube, acknowledging the winner and loser of the Feb. 2 matchup to be held at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

The NORML organization was founded in 1970 to "provide a voice in the public policy debate for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition and favor an end to the practice of arresting marijuana smokers," according to the organization's website.

"We are working to educate our fellow Coloradoans about marijuana including hemp, its potential medical and industrial uses, and about the need to end current laws prohibiting marijuana possession and distribution."

The Super Bowl bet comes after the two states' 2012 vote to legalize recreational use of cannabis, and amid recent comments made by President Obama that he believes marijuana usage is less dangerous than alcohol consumption.

"As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don't think it is more dangerous than alcohol," Obama told The New Yorker's David Remnick.

However, the White House reiterated earlier this week that the president remains opposed to nationwide decriminalization of the drug labeled a Schedule I substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency, placing it alongside heroin, ecstasy and LSD -- "the most dangerous class of drugs with a high potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological and/or physical dependence."

A 2012 FBI report revealed that police in the U.S. arrest someone for a marijuana-related crime every 42 seconds. According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting data, there were 1.5 million drug arrests across the US in 2011, and nearly half (750,000) were related to marijuana.

According to a similar report from the Marijuana Arrest Research Project (MARP), there were 210,000 marijuana possession arrests in Colorado between 1986 and 2010. With that number having increased from about 4,000 in 1986 to over 10,000 marijuana arrests in 2010.

More than two thirds (69 percent) of those arrested were 25 years of age or under.

NORML is also looking to draw attention to the National Football League's policy, which bans marijuana usage. Both teams have had players suspended for failing pot-related drug tests in recent years.

"The NFL would be wise to be more open to marijuana use among players. Its value as a safer treatment than opiates for pain resulting from the brutality of the game must be acknowledged. With concerns over repeat concussions and the resulting traumatic brain injury to players like Junior Seau, the league should be particularly interested in marijuana's potential to prevent long-term damage associated with brain injuries," reads a statement from NORML.

NORML notes that cannabis use could be used as a less risky alternative for players than painkillers and alcohol.

"So while we celebrate this historic Super Doobie Bowl, cheering on our respective teams, and laughing about the irony of it all, let's not forget those players on and off the field whose employers will not allow them to consume a legal substance that has never had an associated death in all of recorded history."

Both NORML chapters will have to wait until Super Bowl XLVIII at 6:30 pm on Sunday, Feb. 2 to find out just which team comes away with -- the highest -- score.

-- Benjamin Fearnow

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