Cannabis legalization may be spreading across the country, but the recent rejection of a marijuana-related Super Bowl ad proves that the NFL doesn't think the cannabis industry is ready for the major leagues.
George Allen - President of US-based cannabis company Acreage Holdings - told CNN Business that they were willing to pay CBS up to $5 million for a 30 second ad spot, but the network turned them down.
Acreage has a history of attention-grabbing publicity moves—the company made headlines after hiring former House Speaker and John Boehner to its board of directors last year. So it's not surprising that they would eye the Super Bowl as a great marketing opportunity. Despite the continuing decline of broadcast television, the Super Bowl remains a ratings powerhouse, reliably attracting more than 100 million viewers each year. That's why advertisers tend to pull out all the stops, airing their biggest, most eye-catching commercials throughout the game.
Acreage says that the rejected ad does not advertise their products, but rather, would have served as a "public service announcement" for medical marijuana.
"We feel it’s our responsibility to advocate on behalf of our patients," said Allen. "We want to get an audience befitting the message."
While CBS didn’t issue a reason for its decision to reject the ad, CNN says that a source close to the network confirmed that they do not accept any cannabis-related advertising at this time.
Like many other companies that have had their advertisements rejected by the network in the past, Acreage plans to post an extended, 60-second version to their website so that people can judge for themselves whether or not the rejection was warranted.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end had this to say on Twitter: