They Don’t Want That Smoke: NFL Nixes a Super Bowl Ad Advocating Medical Cannabis Legalization

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As everyone knows, Super Bowl ads are big money and a big deal. Gaining one of the coveted television spots on what is the penultimate football Sunday is something companies are willing to drop big cash on every year. The cannabis industry is no exception, but unfortunately, CBS is not here for weed commercials.

Bloomberg reports that the network rejected an ad from Acreage Holdings that calls for the legalization of medical cannabis. Acreage Holdings is a multi-state cannabis company that is backed by former House Speaker John Boehner, who had a change of heart last year and started supporting legalization after he was no longer in politics. Boehner is on the board of Acreage Holdings.

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Medical cannabis is legal in 30 states currently, and adult use or recreational cannabis is legal in 10. George Allen, president of Acreage, told Bloomberg that the ad’s goal was to create an advocacy campaign for constituents who are being lost in the dialogue,” and that Super Bowl airtime would have been the best way to accomplish this.

Acreage’s proposed ad features a combat veteran with injuries and a child with seizures, both of whom have benefitted from the use of medical cannabis.

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According to Bloomberg, Super Bowl ads last year averaged $5 million for a 30-second spot. Acreage, which is worth more than $2.4 billion, was willing to pay the cost to get its message across. The company told Bloomberg that it thought it had a shot at getting its ad on-air, and it made sure the messaging was a “call to political action” and not a sales pitch for its brand.

“We certainly thought there was a chance,” Allen said. “You strike when the chance of your strike has the probability of success—this isn’t a doomed mission.”

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Monique Judge

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.