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CBS rejects Super Bowl ad depicting the benefits of medical marijuana

CBS rejected an ad from a company that operates in the marijuana industry. | AP Photo/Richard Vogel

While fans will surely see the usual mix of Super Bowl ads for blockbuster movies, cars, beers and more during the biggest annual television event of the year, CBS says it rejected an ad supporting the benefits of medical marijuana from airing next Sunday.

The proposed 60-second ad came from a company called Acreage Holdings, which operates in the legal marijuana industry and is backed by John Boehner. According to USA Today, the company says its commercial, which it intends to release online in the near future, depicts three people “suffering from varying health issues who say their lives were made better by use of medical marijuana.”

CBS told USA Today it rejected the ad because it doesn’t currently accept cannabis-related advertising. The network is charging $5.2 million for a 30-second spot during the broadcast of Super Bowl LIII between the Patriots and Rams.

Acreage Holdings president George Allen said he wasn’t surprised by the decision to reject the ad. “We’re not particularly surprised that CBS and/or the NFL rejected the content,” Allen told USA Today. “And that is actually less a statement about them and more we think a statement about where we stand right now in this country.” He also told Bloomberg he thought the ad had a “chance” of getting to air.

Medical marijuana is currently legal in more than 30 states and the District of Columbia, but remains illegal at the federal level as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

Even in rejection, the move has drummed up significant publicity for Acreage Holdings, which Bloomberg says is worth more than $2 billion.