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Watch This Rejected Cannabis Super Bowl Commercial

January 24, 2019
(AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

It almost happened: Cannabis nearly made its way to primetime television with Acreage Holdings’ Super Bowl ad about medical marijuana. Featuring testimonies from patients who have seen the plant’s healing benefits, this one minute-long ad sets a somber mood of, “Oh wow, it’s ridiculous that this medicine is illegal.”

While the ad’s intent is to jar up heartfelt emotions about cannabis prohibition, it ultimately falls flat by seeming too vanilla and exclusive. The commercial discusses the injustices of cannabis, but never shows any messaging or imagery that acknowledges the truest injustices of cannabis (such as the War on Drugs and the demographics of people who have suffered most for companies like Acreage Holdings to be able to exist in the first place).

Ultimately,  CBS decided to say, “No thank you” to this multimillion dollar commercial, so in that sense, the war rages on.

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Dante Jordan

Dante Jordan is an Associate Subject Matter Expert for Leafly, where he specializes in informational and lifestyle content pertaining to cannabis strains and products. He also manages the Leafly strain database.

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  • Rosa Morrow

    People truly need to wake up to the fact that marijuana has been on this Earth since the creation..beginning. It was used it is making its itsal attempts to be legally again throughout the world..for just that Help those of us that need it to help with pain..but without the chemically created pills..with too many ‘warnings’ !
    I personally am one of those person’s whom has to read all of the possible ”after effects” of medicines. The area which says “highly unlikely” concern to allergic reactions..well, I’m one of those whom are in that bracket. When I have a bad reaction.. I end up in the ER or my doctor’s office!
    CBD & Yes even marijiama in it’s natural form.. I can handle..yes..the pollen within the marijuana is harsh somewhat to my allergies, but, the relief I get to my knees & my spine is far more beneficial.
    I’ve got two vertabra in my neck that are 3/4’s out of place..not repairable..just as the very bottom two in my tailbone..those are disintegrating..going on three now.
    Not even Dilaudid helped relieved the pain as much. I’ve yet to find the CBD oil in a strength that I can actually afford. The 100mg is not strong enough. So..YES.. I am for it 100+% & have been since the early 70’s.
    If I had the monies to invest in stock.. I would!
    I pray that all of these USA will soon be legal..for both medical & as they say if you time.. recreational. It makes absolutely no sense to legalize it in some states and not all.
    I will share this.
    Thank you so much.
    Rosa Candiano-Morrow

    • Brady Harness

      Big Pharma still wants the Millions they make out of “ARTIFICIAL” -hit that hurts so many people rather than Help them!!!

    • bluegreenalgae

      Cannabis and CBD need to be reimbursable medical costs covered by every insurance provider in every state. It’s insane and cruel that this hasn’t already been instituted. Blessings to you. I sincerely hope you get relief for your pain.

    • Gator B.

      Rosa, you make some great points for the legalization of marijuana, it’s ridiculous that we’re still dealing with the idiocy of the”war on drugs”. More than what you eloquently said, it’s absurd to me that the “land of the free” incarcerates more people than any other countries. But lets look at the right to pursue happiness and liberty by asking who the hell does the government think the constitution restrain? It ain’t the people, so how do they get off by telling us what we can or cannot ingest? This issue really infuriates me, we’ve lost so much time to research psychedelics and weed that is going to have profound impacts on physical and mental health in our country. Nixon’s paranoia and the counter culture killed off what was very promising solutions to addiction, PTSD, & other mental health problems. The government was very effective at lying to the public about weed, but much more so with psychedelics. It’s a shame.

  • Jeremy

    That’s a really cool commercial!

  • howardpark

    I shared this on Facebook with the comment that NFL officials need eye medication, not more Bud Light. Thank you, Leafly!

    • James


  • We should not watch any Super Bowl Commercials since they have a stick up their asses.

    • Dave C

      The NFL is anti- American

  • Rainey

    Cancelling the commercial nothing to do with the worth of cannabis as a treatment for various physical and mental disorders. CBS is terrified of what the Drug Enforcement Agency will do to any television network perceived as encouraging drug use. The DEA has already threatened physicians who dare to prescribe opioids to pain patients, causing hundreds of thousands (and possibly millions) of Americans to suffer unrelieved agony.
    Cannabis legalization worries DEA agents far more than well-armed drug cartels — their greatest concern is that the agency will become irrelevant if they can’t arrest people for possessing and using a “Category 1” narcotic and they’ll be out of a job.

    • MXJ222

      The DEA is why CBS didn’t run the ad? DEA agents worried they can’t arrest people and they will be out of a job if marijuana is legalized?

      Doubt it dude.

      Stoned people should post n serious subjects, wouldn’t you agree?

      • 360dunk

        Got to agree with you on this issue.

      • bluegreenalgae

        I don’t,not after working in government 15 years. Government agencies are collections of fiefdoms where managers must justify minimum numbers of rank and file beneath them. Managers from lower to upper work diligently to prevent shrinkage within their divisions.

  • Elfwood

    I don’t know. I wouldn’t even watch the game in the first place, but from what they want to show a commercial…you could’ve done something better. That would be the commercial where when it comes on everyone goes to the bathroom. Duper Bowl commercial, save your money, put it to better use. It’s a strong message though.

    • James

      Thanks for lettings us know you don’t like the NFL and the player kneeling thing now go take a hammer to your Keurig.

    • aCountryVegan

      I’m just not watching any of it, not even turning CBS on again. It’s just one person, but maybe more will express their opinion by boycotting their programming.

    • Brady Harness

      I have been an NFL fan since the early 1960s but the last two(2) ears have Boycotted them for DISREPECT to Our America kneeling “CRAP” and now because of their being OWNED not wanting to upset big Pharma !!!

  • Observer

    This would have been a good start for mj legalization becoming more public/mainstream, even though it’s a somber subject. It addresses where states should start, at least (as some have already done): medically. Referencing children and veterans is especially heart-wrenching and should stand on those merits alone: medical needs outweigh prohibition of any kind. The article doesn’t say why CBS rejected this ad, something I’d be curious to know.

    As to the author’s statement ‘…never shows any messaging or imagery that acknowledges the truest injustices of cannabis…,’ c’mon, it’s only a one-minute ad. Cramming too many issues, such as mj has, into such a short time frame would have diluted the ability to concentrate on ANY of the issues. The social issues will always take a back seat to medical ones, until such time as the medical ones are fully addressed (50-state legal). In mj’s case, medical awareness IS the progenitor of social awareness.

    • James

      Thank you. I think the author wanted a 30 minute round table of an ad.

    • aCountryVegan

      Thank you, well said. The author seems to think you can jam decades of injustices into a one minute commercial about the benefits of the medicine.

    • R. Schmidt

      Well said Observer. I agree with you 100% on the authors stupid comments.

  • Heather Vanek

    That’s a powerful ad. It’s a shame the NFL still has it’s head up it’s ass.

    • MXJ222

      CBS not the NFL

  • 360dunk

    CBS, you really are run by some true half-wits. This was your chance to step up and do what’s right, make a statement about how idiotic our cannabis laws are. The ad illustrates how the plant helps epileptics, opioid addicts, and amputees returning from war, yet you decided that was too controversial? CBS, you’re as stupid as the federal law that claims marijuana has no medicinal benefits.

    • MXJ222

      It’s not CBS’ job to make a statement about cannabis laws or to take a position on them. In fact, taking a public position on a controversial (you deny it is controversial?) subject that is not related to their business and could easily affect their value is probably a violation of management’s fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders.

      CBS is a business making a decision about what is best for their business. It’s not a for vs. against statement by them.

      • 360dunk

        The only thing controversial about legalization is WTF is taking so long to re-schedule it. Only a blind fool would think it has no medicinal value. As for business decisions, Nike seemed to do quite well with its Kaepernick stance last year. Besides, it’s not like most of America supports keeping the plant illegal.

        • Sharon Cox

          It’s not the fact that there is no medicinal benefit. It’s the fact that it is a naturally occurring plant meaning the pharmacy cannot patent the medicine. Meaning there cannot be the income boom from it’s sales and medicinal benefit through individual or corporate patents

    • Sharon Cox

      They are all owned by the same crowd. Pharmacy included. They make to much money off medications that would be null and void with medicinal marijuana.
      I’ve been through pharmacy training. Get a physicians drug reference (aka PDR) and check the drug interactions, side effects and contraindications of just about ANY medication and you’d be surprised.
      So then you’re taking meds (paid for) to treat side effects created by medications you paid for…
      And the beat goes on
      I’d rather smoke, vape, eat or take the oils or pills and actually feel like a human being then take a bunch a pills that leave me feeling and looking like a zombie.

  • Mark Buell

    Its a real, smart, and touching ad. Think about this america. If the government would have made tobacco illegal and pot legal how would it have affected our health care system. I LOST MY FATHER TO LUNG CANCER AT 61. He smoked two packs a day. CBD’s have real healing and pain management powers for good. Is there ANYTHING GOOD about tobacco. Hell no!! Think about it…

    • MXJ222

      Sorry for your loss that you choose to scream out loud about, but ….

      Tobacco has nothing to do with this and your comparison tells me you don’t get/understand the necessary strategies that will move this forward they way most of us think will bring success.

      The government is not our Nanny for tobacco and it shouldn’t be for marijuana either. You talk about the effect on health care. Well, eating meat and meat products have a direct and social cost of billions of health care dollars annually. Should I assume you think they should outlaw eating meat? How about every substance or behavior that might place your health at risk? Eating meat is a choice. So is using tobacco or recreational pot.

      BTW, the ad is great and CBS should be ashamed for not having the courage and integrity to run it.

    • Gary Craig

      I lost my father back in 82 to cancer. He was a heavy smoker of Pall Mall filter less cigarettes. He was only 54 when he passed. If tobacco had been made illegal instead of cannabis he might still be here today. Back in the 30’s this government made the wrong choice; alcohol should have been kept illegal and cannabis never made illegal.

  • Kent Crowley

    I think it is disgusting that the NFL will not allow such a well done, factual commercial to be aired on Super Bowl Sunday. Shame on you NFL!

  • James

    “and the demographics of people who have suffered most for companies like Acreage Holdings to be able to exist in the first place” Yeah let’s bring up entirely different issues and not just stick to this one. That would start dividing people again you’d have the “evil” wealthy demographic not caring about your whine-fest stick to the heartfelt emotions and cannabis providing relief to those who need it. Don’t go poking around at five more political ideas for people to pick apart.

  • Dave

    It’s a shame that CBS feels the need to suppress THE FACTS AND TRUTH of medical cannabis from the millions of Americans that NEED to see and hear ACTUAL RESULTS from the living, instead of making more laws enacted after their passage to the afterlife. SHAME ON YOU!

  • Dave

    I’ve taken 29 pills/day for 15 years because of a spinal injury. Moved to California in 2012 for the medical cannabis and have taken only 5 pills in 6 years! I’m practically pain free! It’s GOD’S MEDICINE!

  • Dave C

    screw the super bowl and the anti-amercains attending

    • 360dunk

      That’s as foolish a statement as can be. I’ll be attending the game….only a true buffoon would say I’m anti-American. Hey genius, how many kneelers were kneeling this season out of 1700 players….two or three?

  • Linda Vee Sado

    We are boycotting the NFL anyway. So screw um

  • Tellur88

    Wonder how many players are using CBD oil to medicate with? But this is a fine line between antidotal claims and CBD studies. The ad is using the word Cannabis, not CBD or Hemp. So this, in reality, is too far to soon perhaps. People or corporate aren’t quite ready for cannabis to be a good guy medication.

  • Erik Prange

    I am a veteran who suffers from PTSD after being in the war in Iraq. I actually had a local news story (KOMU here in Missouri) done on me about the benefits of medical marijuana. At that time, it’s been several years, I was on 5 different prescriptions for depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. The point of the news segment was that I could eliminate most, if not all, of the prescriptions I was on that pretty much made me a zombie. Since that segment aired, I have taken it upon myself to medicate with marijuana illegally because I have to buy it from the “black market”. In doing so, I have been able to get down to one prescription medication for depression. My point is, medical marijuana works! It is our government and big pharmaceutical companies lining politicians pockets that keep it under prohibition laws. I’m living proof of the benefits.

  • Dmember

    So CBS thinks cannabis is immmoral but bloody abortion is hunky-dorey? Media/Left = hypocrites all

  • Silverado

    “The commercial discusses the injustices of cannabis, but never shows any messaging or imagery that acknowledges the truest injustices of cannabis (such as the War on Drugs and the demographics of people who have suffered most for companies like Acreage Holdings to be able to exist in the first place).”

    Wouldn’t that just be more left wing virtue signaling?? That’s a great commercial. Just the way it is…

  • C. Dub.

    Yet CBS will let advertisers on their network that promote drinking alcohol ?! What the heck do they think people are doing after watching the Superbowl at bars and private parties?! They are driving drunk! CBS will sell ad space for something that kills and causes cancer,but won’t sell ad space for something that helps heal the sick and the hurting?!
    All the military men that come home suffering PTSD from the horrors that they have seen.This medicine helps heal them and many others that suffer,every day! Shame on you,CBS,for cowering and bowing down to pressure!

  • Pete Gonzales

    I am willing to bet the FCC had something to do with it.

  • Dev O

    The networks are still too scared of the (Govn’t or DEA), I guess. This points out some truth about how government has out-right lied to Americans about Cannabis. More and more people are becoming aware of how they have been lied to. The lying doesn’t limit itself to Cannabis on the part of the government, that’s for sure.

  • Dave C

    F the super bowl and the anti-amercains attending

  • Dave C

    The NFL over, done, finished..,,
    The hell with super bowl and the anti-amercains attending

  • Dave C

    anti-amercains support the NFL.

  • LindaB
  • alacrity

    as long as there’s more money in prohibition than legalization- the denials will continue, regardless of the efficacy or will of the people.

  • Tony Velez

    CBS is in cahoots with the pharmas is probably why this commercial was not allowed, plus opioids makes dependent customers , so CBS & the evil media are the problem , nature is the best cure for illnesses , period

  • Brady Harness

    Typical example out of out date Commercial T.V. most of the Old Farts in charge are still stuck in the 1950s !!!

  • SueB

    Anger doesn’t come close to describing my feelings. I cried at this commercial. Shame on the producers. But it’s ok to have beer commercials????

  • Gator B.

    I think the point is missing from the article that the corporation behind the ad is trying to expand into Wall Street to sell shares of companies that sell and market weed and related products. I don’t have a problem with that, it’s a wise part of an investment strategy now. What bothers me is the ad is somewhat misleading, I’d like to see new business models get away from old school intellectually dishonest marketing campaigns. Acerage Holdings has even added politicians to their advisory board, John Boehner, former speaker of the house for one.