CBS won't air Super Bowl commercial touting benefits of medical marijuana

While we will likely see plenty of Super Bowl commercials with celebrities touting theme park vacations and others for soda, laundry detergent and of course all manner of cars, there’s at least one we won’t see on Feb. 3.

Medical marijuana ad rejected

According to Acreage Holdings, CBS, which is broadcasting Super Bowl LIII, rejected its 30-second ad touting the benefits of medical marijuana.

George Allen, the president of Acreage, told CNN Business that he expected CBS might not allow his company’s commercial to air during the game.

CBS rejected a Super Bowl ad touting the benefits of medical marijuana. (AP)
CBS rejected a Super Bowl ad touting the benefits of medical marijuana. (AP)

“We’re disappointed but somewhat unsurprised,” Allen said. “Still, we developed the ad in the spirit of a public service announcement. We feel it’s our responsibility to advocate on behalf of our patients.”

Acreage was ready to pony up the likely $5 million for a 30-second spot.

It’s hard to compete with the amount of attention something gets when it airs during the Super Bowl,” Allen told Bloomberg.

Medical marijuana allowed in 30 states

Acreage is a U.S.-based cannabis company, and former Speaker of the House John Boehner is one of its investors and board members.

Currently, 23 states allow medical marijuana use, with 10 states plus the District of Columbia allowing recreational use as well.

But there remains a federal prohibition on marijuana and cannabinoids, and the NFL still punishes players for using them as well.

Acreage’s ad featured two people who have benefitted from medicinal use of its products: a child with seizures and a military veteran with combat injuries.

Numerous former NFL players have said a high percentage of players use marijuana for recreational and pain reasons, arguing that it is a safer method of relief than highly addictive opioids.

Acreage will post a 60-second version of its ad on the company website.

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