On February 3, CBS will air the Super Bowl, a four-hour glorification of a sport linked to traumatic brain injuries. It will not, however, air a commercial promoting medical marijuana, one of the substances football players say mitigate the effects of playing bumper cars with your skull.
According to Bloomberg, CBS rejected an ad from Acreage Holdings, a marijuana investment firm that counts former House Speaker John Boehner among its employees, after seeing a rough outline of the spot. The intent of the ad is to “create an advocacy campaign for constituents who are being lost in the dialogue,” Acreage president George Allen told Bloomberg. There are currently 33 states with some form of marijuana legalization, according to Governing magazine, and Acreage wants to see that number grow.
Allen told Bloomberg the Super Bowl ad — which the company describes as a “call to political action” and a public service announcement — would be the best thing Acreage could do to get people talking and legalizing weed. “It’s hard to compete with the amount of attention something gets when it airs during the Super Bowl,” he said.
A spokesperson for CBS told USA Today that its broadcast standards do not allow it to accept any cannabis-related ads. The paper also described an early version of the ad:
An unfinished version of the 60-second ad introduces a Colorado boy who suffers from Dravet syndrome; his mother says her son would have dozens to hundreds of seizures a day and medical marijuana saved his life. A Buffalo man says he was on opioids for 15 years after three back surgeries and that medical marijuana gave him his life back. An Oakland man who lost part of his leg in military service says his pain was unbearable until medical marijuana.
The spot could have just as easily included an NFL player. Though marijuana is on the league’s list of banned substances, earlier this year, retired tight end Martellus Bennett estimated that about 89 percent of NFL players smoke to cope with the pain inflicted by the game.