The logo lifters at Pittsburgh NORML have struck again. Last month, the NFL sent the group a legal "cease-and-desist" notice for infringing on the Pittsburgh Steelers logo. As you can see, there is a slight similarity between the two:
The group, which had been using the logo for six years, quickly dropped it when the NFL threatened legal action. But they didn't pass on using the controversy to tackle the NFL's position on cannabis. "Cannabis is not a performance enhancing substance," said NORML executive director Patrick Nightingale, "but it could easily be a safe and effective treatment alternative for your most valuable assets – your players."
And they aren't laying off logos either. After stealing from the Steelers, they rebranded themselves after the Pittsburgh Penguins:
The world's fastest sport wasn't as slow to react as the NFL. On Nov. 17, the NHL sent a cease-and-desist order. Apparently swapping out the hockey stick for a bong and turning the mascots eyes red weren't enough to make the league see the piece as homage instead of infringement.
But don't get your hopes up about the NHL dropping its gloves with NORML.
"Are we going to get into an expensive lawsuit over intellectual property? No," Nightingale told Triblive last week. "That goes beyond my capability as an attorney and executive director of Pittsburgh NORML."
So why is NORML challenging major league sports if they plan to forfeit each legal challenge?
"We are not going to win the fight against cannabis prohibitions by appealing only to cannabis consumers," Nightingale said. "By raising the issue, the profile, your average voter who is not necessarily all that concerned about cannabis legalization can be informed that there is cannabis legislation out there."
But if the ordinance doesn't pass, the MLB should get their cease-and-desist order ready. When Triblive asked Nightingale if they would target the Pittsburgh Pirates next, he said, "Wink-wink, nod-nod. It's in the works."