Another year, another Superbowl, another ad that scores big by not being aired. 

This year it’s not GoDaddy, it’s not Danica, it’s not any of the usual suspects.  The Superbowl ad that isn’t this time is a 60 second spot encouraging adults to contact their House and Senate representatives to push them to vote for legalizing medical marijuana. 

[LISTEN: California legalization leads to falling profits for legitimate cannabis companies – PODCAST EPISODE]

Of course, with all things being Superbowl on the last Sunday in January first Sunday in February, of course the folks at CBS aren’t about to allow advertising that might further tarnish their image.  Although we could – and do – say that in this case, it might actually burnish that image instead.  

Acreage Holdings, which is connected to former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, submitted a draft of a commercial for approval to CBS for inclusion in the Superbowl –  if you haven’t seen it yet, here it is: 


What’s the point of submitting an ad to the Superbowl that is obviously not going to air? 

That much should also be obvious.  The amount of press that Acreage has gotten with the rejected ad way outweighs (see how I did that?) the ROI on what would have been a ten million dollar investment.  Yep, 30 second ads are going for north of five million per spot this time – and in what could arguably be called the snooze bowl, the cheater bowl (both for the inclusion of Brady’s Pats and the exclusion of the Saints), or just the generally overrated as a sporting event telecast. 

[READ: Farm Bill 2018 legalizes hemp production nationally – BLOG ARTICLE]

Can you tell that I’m not too hyped on football any more?  The massive amount of CTE and head trauma that the game incurs, the likelihood of serious injury, the vast number of kids who are put into a system that basically turns their brains to mush if they are any good at the game…  I just don’t care for it any more.  Heck I used to win the football pool, at worst maybe find myself in third place, year after year after year.  But no more of that, I just cannot stomach the toll that the ‘game’ exacts from the players any more.  I’m also incredibly grateful that my son lasted less than a full season in the Pop Warner league; there was not enough action for him to enjoy the situation.  

Cannabis – even medical marijuana – should NOT be linked to football, or to the Superbowl. 

If people want to sit around and eat nachos and wings, drink beer, yell at the television, I’m all for that.  It’s practically the reason that NASCAR is televised.  However, the juxtaposition of medical cannabis with a game that literally kills people smacks of hypocrisy to me.  And while I understand that Acreage knew – without a doubt – that their ad would not be running and they would not be on the hook for any amount of millions in payments to CBS – I still do not like the idea that we, as an industry, find it easier to fall back to marketing the same way that alcohol and tobacco do, for what is being claimed as a medical answer to serious problems. 

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I’m certainly not the arbiter of what the cannabis industry can, should, or will do.  I’m just one little cog in an ever growing machine, but I do find it ironic at best, hypocritical more likely, that we as an industry are willing to jump into bed with other large machines like the NFL or broadcast TV, in order to get a few minutes of free fame in a situation like this.  

I would likely not have taken issue if a rec use company had attempted this – after all, adult use marijuana is akin to having a beer when we look at the circumstances…  not a big deal, but not attempting to leverage a terribly damaging game to push holistic medicine in Congress. 

We are better than this, and we should hold ourselves to a higher standard when it comes to medical use cannabis.