CBS has turned down a cannabis company’s plans to air a medical marijuana advocacy commercial during the Super Bowl, according to media reports. Acreage Holdings, a firm with licensed cannabis cultivation, processing, and dispensary operations in 15 states, had hoped to run the television advertisement during coverage of the NFL championship game on Feb. 3. George Allen, the president of Acreage Holdings, told Bloomberg that the commercial is an attempt to “create an advocacy campaign for constituents who are being lost in the dialogue,” Allen said.
Allen said that airtime during the biggest television event of the year would have been a good way to accomplish that goal.
“It’s hard to compete with the amount of attention something gets when it airs during the Super Bowl,” he said.
Acreage had already produced the television spot and was prepared to spend more than $5 million to run the ad. Although controversial advertisements have been rejected for the Super Bowl by television networks in the past, Allen said his company believed its commercial might be accepted.
“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.”
However, CBS rejected plans for the advertisement after seeing a rough outline of the spot, the company reported.
Ad Highlights Patients’ Stories
The ad tells the story of two medical marijuana patients, a veteran who was wounded in combat and a child with a seizure disorder. Allen said that the spot was presented as a “call to political action” rather than an advertisement for cannabis or the brand.
The child depicted in the ad moved with his mother to Colorado in order to have legal access to medical marijuana therapies, according to a report from TMZ. The boy has Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that causes frequent seizures. Despite a doctor’s recommendation that cannabis might help, medical marijuana was still illegal in their home state of Oklahoma at the time.
Acreage Holdings, which began as High Street Capital Partners in 2014, went public in the Canadian over the counter markets last year. The corporation has a market capitalization of approximately $2.4 billion, making it one of the largest cannabis companies in the United States. Acreage Holdings made news in 2018 when it announced that former Speaker of the House John Boehner and former governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld joined the company’s board of directors in April, followed by Former Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney in October.