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CBS Refuses to Air Medical Cannabis Ad During Super Bowl Broadcast

Although cannabis use is becoming more common, with medical marijuana currently legal in 33 states, one network is still choosing not to give air time to the topic.

Last week, cannabis company Acreage Holdings revealed that CBS declined to run its proposed medical cannabis advertisement during the Super Bowl LIII broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 3. According to USA Today, Acreage received an email from CBS that read: “CBS will not be accepting any ads for medical marijuana at this time.”

Have questions about medical cannabis? Join Cannabis Corner and connect with other medical cannabis users and share your experience.

The company said it was willing to pay the approximately $5.2 million CBS charges for a 30-second Super Bowl commercial, adding it was not surprised the ad was rejected.

“We’re disappointed by the news but somewhat unsurprised,” said George Allen, president of Acreage Holdings. “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.”

Unlike many traditional advertisements, Acreage Holdings’ ad does not feature or promote any of their products. Instead, it features real individuals. There’s a woman whose son has Dravet syndrome, which caused him to experience dozens to hundreds of seizures every day before trying cannabis. One man describes how he underwent three back surgeries and was on opioids for 15 years. Another was in unbearable pain after losing part of his leg while serving in the military. All three say that medical cannabis was life-saving.

Acreage’s ad might not be shown during the Super Bowl, but it hopes its message will spark a conversation about how many Americans benefit from medical cannabis, yet still face barriers with legalization, cost, accessibility and stigma.

In her essay, How Marijuana Has Helped Me Live With the Pain of My Rare Disease, Mighty contributor Retha de Wet explains how much medical cannabis has helped her, writing:

The only effective treatment for most of the side effects I am forced to endure, is taking a strong hit from my bong or drinking a cannabis oil capsule. The pain fades out and sometimes I can even eat more than one meal a day due to the very famous side effect of marijuana, which we all know as “munchies.”

Cannabis has provided me with relief that doctors were unable to provide. It has kept me calm and it plays a big part in why I am able to be a happy person, despite my health problems.

Above all else, cannabis has helped me to remain calm during a very difficult time in my life. It allowed me to return to normal.

Acreage Holdings said it plans to release a final version of the 60-second ad on its website when it is complete.

Interested in learning more about using medical cannabis for chronic pain? Check out our Chronically Cannabis column, featuring regular articles from neuroscientist and cannabis expert Dr. Michele Ross.

Screenshot via Acreage Holdings Ad YouTube video