Last week many marijuana advocates were angered after it came out that CBS refused to air a medical marijuana ad during the upcoming Super Bowl. But one marijuana expert says that may be a good thing.
Mike Adams is a freelance writer who's covered cannabis for a number of different websites and outlets. In an opinion piece for Forbes, Adams argues that it may actually be somewhat of a good thing that CBS rejected Acreage Holdings' medical marijuana Super Bowl ad.
Adams' argument comes down to two points. The first is that the ad itself would probably not have been that successful. Super Bowl ads usually only work if they're funny or patriotic. Sometimes you can have an ad that really tugs on the heartstrings, but that's about it. Acreage's ad, while an effective enough ad, may not have succeeded during the Super Bowl. It's not quite emotional enough to get people to start tearing up, and it's mostly just a straightforward, "Here's why medical marijuana is important." Adams basically says it might not have hit the mark during the Super Bowl.
"Unfortunately, while the overtones behind the Acreage ad are respectable – it features three people who claim medical marijuana has changed their lives for the better – it is not the kind of production fit for the Super Bowl," Adams writes.
But his second point is more interesting. Adams says that Acreage's ad is advocating for marijuana legalization in the wrong way. Acreage is focusing on the medical side of legalization, how cannabis can help treat various ailments. But Adams points out that there's a lot of disagreement and lack of evidence about the actual medical benefits of marijuana. That's why the legalization movement has moved on to recreational marijuana, and pointing out how cannabis is less dangerous than alcohol and other substances and how ridiculous it is that it's illegal.
In fact, Adams notes that medical marijuana in America is probably dying. States that legalize recreational marijuana often see dramatic decreases in medicinal cannabis sales.
Adams also points out that most of the legislation being discussed at the federal level has nothing to do with medical marijuana. It's all about removing marijuana from the list of Controlled Substances and removing federal prohibition, not legalizing medical marijuana. So Acreage's ad would advocate for marijuana in basically an out-of-date way. It would be like advocating for gay couples to have the right to enter into civil unions while the rest of the movement is fighting for gay marriage.
"Sadly for some, medical marijuana, as we’ve come to know it, probably will not exist anywhere in the United States in another 20 years. Not many lawmakers are even fighting for it anymore," Adams writes.
So perhaps having a Super Bowl ad about the medical benefits of cannabis would send the wrong message to Americans about where the legalization movement is going. Or perhaps it would portray the drug in a more sympathetic light and get more people to approve of relaxing marijuana laws. Unfortunately, we'll never know.