CBS won't air medical cannabis Superbowl ad

CBS rejected a Super Bowl ad submission from Acreage Holdings about the benefits of medical marijuana.

The spot doesn’t advertise Acreage Holdings’ products, but instead features interviews with patients that have had their lives changed by medical marijuana. Even though the ad doesn’t directly promote the use of any specific product, the company admits that it was unsurprised by the rejection.

Most media companies are unwilling to show cannabis ads as long as the plant remains illegal for recreational and medical use on a federal level in the United States. CBS did not release a public statement about why they chose not to run the commercial. But a source close to the network said that it does not currently accept any cannabis-related advertising.

Like other companies that have had their ads turned down, Acreage went public with the news. The company then published a 60-second version of the video so people could still view it. The media created a lot of positive PR for Acreage Holdings. This was a smart tactic to build brand awareness and affinity among the cannabis community.

Acreage reported that they were willing to spend upward of $5 million for the spot. This is the going rate for a Super Bowl ad in 2019, which reliably attracts more than 100 million viewers each year. If the video aired, the return on investment probably wouldn’t have been worth it for Acreage. Super Bowl ads are seen by tens of millions, Acreage only services a market of tens of thousands. Until more states legalize marijuana sales, federally-broadcasted cannabis ads will be seen by a large number of people that cannot purchase the product or support the company, even if they wanted to. The ad likely attracted the same amount of attention through being rejected than if it was approved.

This was a smart move from Acreage Holdings that gained a lot of attention and helped position the company as a philanthropic “people’s champion”.

About Acreage Holdings 

Acreage Holdings is a public company based in British Columbia, Canada holding a diverse portfolio of cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensing operations in the United States. The company’s early investments include The Wellness and Pain Management Connection in Maine, Dixie Brands and Kalyx Development. Acreage now has investments all across America and has received 1 of 12 cultivation licenses in Pennsylvania.

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