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We have frequently covered the hypocritical and ridiculous relationship that professional sports leagues, like the NFL, have with cannabis. There have been players who have lost their careers simply because they chose to treat job-related injuries with medical cannabis instead of opioids. That is, of course, in addition to the fact that these leagues often overlook spousal abuse and even allegations of rape and sexual assault against players who have promising futures.
However, it is still disappointing to see that CBS chose to reject a potential Super Bowl advertisement this year simply because the product was cannabis-related. For decades, the Super Bowl has been an advertising highlight for companies. Paying astronomical amounts for Super Bowl advertisement spots has been a thing since before the rise of the internet and viral video marketing.
Most years, the ads during the Super Bowl often shill for multiple different kinds of beer. Apparently, getting totally wasted is perfectly acceptable, as is the use of the female form to sell everything from burgers to cars.
However, if a commercial dares to address the multiple different medical conditions that respond to cannabis, that is somehow inappropriate, as is the case with the rejected ad from cannabis company Acreage Holdings. Despite the fact that the commercial did not promote the company specifically or any particular cannabis product, CBS felt that it directly violated their advertising policies.
The commercial in question features a child who has seizures, a veteran amputee, and someone recovering from opioid addiction. The commercial ends with a call to action that involves reaching out to your individual lawmakers and encouraging state and federal legal reform. Despite 20% of the states in the country having already legalized cannabis for recreational use and a majority of them having at least some sort of medical cannabis policy in place, CBS has a very draconian view of what information can be given out during a commercial aired nationally.
The rejection of this commercial isn’t that much of a surprise. It fits perfectly with the status quo in American media. This should serve as a reminder that no matter how mainstream cannabis legalization may seem to activists at this point, it is still controversial in many conservative circles, especially in business. We still have much ground to cover and many taboos to destroy.
For previous Ladybud coverage of the NFL, click here.