A Denver Broncos fans lights up at a tailgate.

How will legal marijuana change the face of tailgating?

The ringing in of 2017 ushers in a new year of hope and resolutions that will be broken before the Super Bowl. January 1st also marks the beginning of new laws passed in November to come into effect. In those states that passed laws legalizing marijuana and those that already had laws allowing recreational usage of weed, 2017 may be the year that ganja starts making a presence at tailgate parties.

In the past, if a tailgater preferred to smoke up rather than slam beers in the parking lot, they needed to hot box it in the car while looking over their shoulders as if the weed paranoia had already kicked in before the first toke. Now that many states allow the recreational consumption of bud, will tailgaters be more brazen in their smoking? After all, in those states where pot is legal, don’t you think the cops patrolling the parking lot have bigger fish to fry than ticketing a tailgater puffing a joint?

The bigger problem is how will the NFL react to legal weed being consumed in the parking lots before games. Of course, the NFL encourages the mature and responsible consumption of alcohol at all of its games, inside and outside the stadium. But if you have ever stayed home and caught an NFL game on TV, you can’t go a commercial break without being bombarded by beer commercials. A little hypocritical but then again, this is the NFL.

Colorado has had legal marijuana for a while now but the Denver Broncos still have an archaic stance on the kush. The Sports Authority Field at Mile High guest information website states:

Any form of marijuana consumption or possession is prohibited on Sports Authority Field at Mile High property during public events including in stadium parking lots.

Nowhere on the same web page does it outline rules for the consumption of alcohol in the parking lots. Why do they feel the need to regulate marijuana for those tailgating but apparently alcohol is fine and dandy?

You may raise the question of, “Maybe the state recreational marijuana laws prohibit the consumption of it in public places and is reserved for home use?”. There is some validity to that but I would also argue that those same states have strict alcohol laws that prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public. You can drink a beer outside of a liquor store or take a to-go cup of your gin & tonic away from the bar. But apparently beer bongs out in the open of a tailgating parking lot is not considered “public consumption”?

Seems a bit hypocritical that if open container laws are going to be ignored within the confines of a stadium parking lot, the same should go for legal weed. Then again, we are talking about the NFL and consistency has never been their strong suit. Again, we digress.

Good thing that the NFL does not control the local police forces that patrol the NFL stadiums each Sunday. According to this Denver Broncos fan, the guidelines on the Broncos website are pretty much that; guidelines and the Denver PD looks the other way.

YouTube video

The Broncos fan in the HBO piece makes a good point. People who smoke weed are generally non-violent and do not start trouble. Probably the biggest threat you will see in the parking lot when surrounded by stoners is that the seven layer dip will get crushed before anyone else has the chance to get a second bite. Drunk people on the other hand?

How many tailgates have you attended where a fight broke out because at least one, if not both of the combatants were drunk? We’re willing to guess a lot more than stoners squaring off because someone is wearing the wrong color jersey.

Dr Evil "Super Bowl"Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize recreational usage of marijuana. Ironically, both the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos played in the Super Bowl that same year prompting numerous memes surrounding the coincidence.

Now that California and Massachusetts have passed recreational marijuana laws, that now brings the total number of NFL teams in weed legal states to seven. (Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, Rams, Raiders, 49ers and Chargers) Even if the Oakland Raiders choose to move to Las Vegas as they have been threatening, they would still be in a weed legal state. Nevada passed Question 2 which legalized wacky tobaccy for recreational use back in November.

Our prediction: The NFL will continue to frown upon marijuana usage until it becomes so mainstream, that they have to face facts and normalize it. With more and more states legalizing doobage, the writing is on the wall. The NFL will be forced to remove weed from their banned substances list (alcohol is not banned) as it becomes more and more mainstream and accepted. And of course, being the NFL, once that happens, you know they will be taking offers from companies to be the “official marijuana of the NFL” much like it has an official beer and soda and car and truck and SUV and overnight delivery service, and, and, and…

What do you think the impact of legal marijuana will have on tailgating? Leave your comments below or tweet them to us (@TailgatingIdeas) or comment on our Facebook page.