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CBS Refuses to Air Medical Pot Ad During Super Bowl

Says current network broadcast standards do not allow it
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2019 1:48 PM CST
In this Sept. 20, 2018, file photo, an employee at a medical marijuana cultivator works on topping a marijuana plant, in Eastlake, Ohio.   (AP Photo/David Dermer, File)

(Newser) – Even John Boehner's backing apparently wasn't enough to convince CBS to accept a medical marijuana ad during the Super Bowl. Acreage Holdings, the cannabis company for which the former House speaker is a board member, says it sent the network a rough outline of the proposed commercial and was rejected, Bloomberg reports. The company tells USA Today the network responded simply, "CBS will not be accepting any ads for medical marijuana at this time." The 60-second spot called for medical marijuana to be legalized; though it is legal in many states, cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, which makes it difficult for scientists to research the medical properties of the drug and, sometimes, for patients to access the drug.

"It’s hard to compete with the amount of attention something gets when it airs during the Super Bowl," says the president of Acreage, George Allen. The ad was an attempt to "create an advocacy campaign for constituents who are being lost in the dialogue." It featured a veteran with combat injuries, a child who suffers from seizures, and a man who was on opioids for 15 years following three back surgeries, all of whom say medical marijuana has helped them. A CBS rep told USA Today that current CBS broadcast standards do not allow the network to accept cannabis-related advertising, and Variety notes that is the case at most US TV networks. Acreage plans to post the ad online at some point. (More on Boehner's involvement with the company here.)

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