CBS rejected a Super Bowl advertisement that would have advocated for the legalization of medical marijuana, Bloomberg reports. The ad would have been financed by Acreage Holdings, a multi-billion dollar cannabis company backed by longtime former Congressman John Boehner, and nixing it is a really bad look for CBS, who did not respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment (Monday was a federal holiday, but that did not stop their PR department from touting eye-popping AFC title game viewership numbers).
In disclosure, I am in favor of legalization of recreational marijuana as well, but want to stress that medical and recreational marijuana should be regarded as two separate issues.
In 2012, I spent a month in Colorado reporting extensively for Huffington Post on all aspects of the medical marijuana industry in the state, speaking to growers, distributors, doctors, and patients. To sum up the thousands of words succinctly, I found that medical marijuana provided a measure of relief for symptoms to patients who were very sick and/or in severe pain that standard pharmaceuticals could not — and without the risk of fatal overdose.
Medical marijuana is legal in 30 states; as Chris Long points out, there is a blatant hypocrisy in the fact that CBS gleefully accepts advertising from alcohol companies — Anheuser-Busch has bought EIGHT ads this year — but rejected this spot:
This is a bad look for CBS, whose decision-makers could stand to study this issue further: Legalization of medical marijuana should not be classified as political advocacy, but as an empathetic matter of quality of life for some of the most vulnerable members of our society.