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Acreage Cannabis Ad Rejected For Super Bowl By CBS, the “controversial” cannabis PSA that CBS won’t play.

CBS rejects Super Bowl ad on benefits of medical marijuana

By Erik Brady, USA TODAY

CBS rejected a Super Bowl ad that makes a case for medical marijuana.

Acreage Holdings, which is in the cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensing business, said it produced a 60-second ad that shows three people suffering from varying health issues who say their lives were made better by use of medical marijuana.

Acreage said its ad agency sent storyboards for the ad to the network and received a return email that said: “CBS will not be accepting any ads for medical marijuana at this time.”

A CBS spokesperson told USA TODAY Sports that under CBS broadcast standards it does not currently accept cannabis-related advertising.

“We’re not particularly surprised that CBS and/or the NFL rejected the content,” Acreage president George Allen said. “And that is actually less a statement about them and more we think a statement about where we stand right now in this country.”

Allen said the issue is that 30 states and the District of Columbia allow varying forms of marijuana use while the federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

“One of the hardest parts about this business is the ambiguity that we operate within,” Allen said. “We do the best we can to navigate a complex fabric of state and federal policy, much of which conflicts.”

Allen said the company had not decided whether to run its 60-second ad or a 30-second version when it learned that CBS would not accept any ads for medical marijuana.

CBS is charging an average of $5.2 million for a 30-second ad in this year’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots on Feb. 3.

“It’s a public service announcement really more than it is an advertisement,” said Harris Damashek, Acreage’s chief marketing officer. “We’re not marketing any of our products or retail in this spot.”

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 time is now,” say words on the screen near the end of the ad. Then the screen shifts and viewers are asked to call on their representatives in the U.S. House and Senate to advocate for change. Fine print at the bottom says the testimonials in the ad come from the experiences of the individuals and have not been evaluated by the FDA. The fine print also says marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance and medical use has not been approved in some states.

“Look, from my third-grade government class, we live in a representative democracy,” Allen said. “In theory, our elected officials are supposed to support legislative action that is in keeping with the will of the people.”

Acreage expects to post the ad online at some point so people can see it, even if they can’t see it on the Super Bowl.

“It’s not quite ready yet,” Damashek said, “but we anticipate and look forward to getting the message out far and wide.”

Article source USA Today

Here’s the Medical Cannabis Super Bowl Ad CBS Refused to Run

Both CBS and the NFL lag far behind the American public on the subject of medical marijuana.
Javier Hasse
Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It was all over the news on Tuesday: CBS rejected a public service announcement highlighting the benefits of medical cannabis, which was intended to be aired during the 2019 Super Bowl.

Long story short, what happened was Acreage Holdings, one of the largest U.S. based cannabis companies, which counts former House Speaker John Boehner and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld among its advisors, created a 60-second public service announcement (or ad, if you will) featuring three medical cannabis patients and their loved ones explaining how marijuana had changed their lives for the better — and suggesting it is a great alternative to other more dangerous pharma drugs.

The company submitted the ad to CBS and was ready to pay the estimated $5 million to $10 million it would cost to air during the 2019 Super Bowl.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering that cannabis remains illegal on the federal level under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, CBS rejected the ad. A network spokesperson told USA Today that, for the time being, pot-related ads did not fit CBS’ broadcast standards.

Interested in getting some athletes’ insights, Entrepreneur reached out to Treyous Jarrells, a former Colorado State running back who had to quit football so that he could continue to medicate with cannabis, and has since become a vocal cannabis advocate and entrepreneur. “I’m a huge activist when it comes to the cannabis space, but I see why CBS rejected this ad, being that it’s tied to the NFL… Knowing what we know about how cannabis is viewed when it comes to professional sports, especially football, it only makes sense that the ad was rejected; the NFL still views cannabis as a banned substance.”

Marvin Washington, former Super Bowl champion turned cannabis entrepreneur, investor and advocate with Athletes For Care, told Entrepreneur that “Acreage made a nice play for the industry and the future, and cannabis will be commercialized. Even in being denied, they showed the nation the future of cannabis. It will be mainstream.”

Harris Damashek, chief marketing officer for Acreage Holdings, said the decision was hypocritical. “You will see countless ads (during the Super Bowl) for beer and erectile dysfunction medications but our ad with an educational goal to help people who are suffering is rejected. That is the irony we are looking to highlight.’’

The Footage

A lot can be said and discussed about this topic. And much has been discussed already. However, since Acreage Holdings did not release the footage, very few people have seen the ad but Green Entrepreneur has managed to get its hands on the material, exclusively.

The ad opens with Austin, a young man suffering a seizure caused by epilepsy. His mother, Amy Bourlon-Hilterban, from Florence, Colorado, explains that “Austin would have dozens to hundreds of seizures every single day,” and that prescription medications were not working.

Then, we see Greg Kazmierczak, who declares to have been hooked on opioids for 15 years, using them to treat his back pain, and Ryan Miller, a military veteran who also suffered from excruciating pain after losing a leg during the service.

All three of them had found a better treatment alternative in medical cannabis.

“Medical cannabis saved Austin’s life,” says Amy Bourlon-Hilterban, echoed by other patients and their family members. “It’s [cannabis prohibition] not just unfair. It’s cruel,” she ends, as the screen displays the following words:

The time is now.

Please call your U.S. Representative or U.S. Senator to advocate for change now.

And finally, for the moment everyone has been waiting for, the cannabis-themed public service announcement Acreage Holdings wanted to run during this year’s Super Bowl — but couldn’t.

Article source The Green Entrepreneur

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