- - Monday, April 11, 2016

Hot dogs, beer and football go together like peanuts and Crackerjacks at the baseball game, an all-American combination at stadiums on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in autumn. But dope on the gridiron? Say it ain’t so, Joe.

But in keeping with Colorado’s legalizing of recreational marijuana, there’s a move afoot to relabel Denver’s Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium with an even more weed-oriented name. You might think “Mile High Stadium” could hardly be improved on as the description of a venue for the ultimate reefer high. But the state’s marijuana industry wants to get higher than a mere collection of small pot shops.

Native Roots, a company that operates 14 dispensaries for both “medical” and recreational marijuana across Colorado, is eager to bid millions of dollars to put its name on the stadium, now officially called Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, though nearly everybody still calls it Mile High. The stadium stands 5,280 feet above sea level, exactly a mile, to the inch.

“We have a ton of pride in the Broncos, we’re a large corporation in Colorado,” boasts Native Roots’ founding partner, Rhett Jordan. With Sports Authority in bankruptcy, Native Roots is waiting in the wings to buy up the stadium’s naming rights if Sports Authority, which sounds like a government bureaucracy but isn’t, can’t come up with $6 million in August to keep the name.

The Broncos are hoping somebody besides Native Roots can find the money, because as the American culture embraces everything sordid, unethical and hurtful, the club is nevertheless obligated to follow the National Football League’s squeaky-clean rules mandating suspension for players who openly puff the weed.

Ambiguity in the law leads to paralysis in enforcement. Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia have enacted “medical marijuana laws,” and the state of Washington has joined Colorado in legalizing recreational pot. But federal law survives, making it a crime “for any person to knowingly or intentionally manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess marijuana.” The word “knowingly” might be a loophole to be exploited by a clever lawyer, since someone in a marijuana stupor rarely knows anything. The Obama administration, which clearly doesn’t want to enforce that law, has urged the Department of Justice to make a greater effort to “monitor the effects of legalization.”

A representative of the Government Accountability Office told the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control last week that the Justice Department does not see a benefit in documenting how the department would monitor the effects of state marijuana legalization relative to earlier guidance on the law. Why should the government enforce a law that some people don’t like? The law, as Mr. Bumble famously observed in Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” is “a idiot, a ass.”

Once upon a time, common sense dictated setting a proper example for the young, and the clever and the wise could live the high life, correctly defined. But in the America transformed by Barack Obama, both vice and virtue are served a la carte.

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