Thoughts on the rejection of the Acreage Holdings Cannabis Superbowl Ad

4 Feb 2019 2:09 PM | Marion (Administrator)
By: Dr. Marion McNabb, CEO C3RN
Feb 4, 2019

Worcester, MA


GO PATS! What another great win for a great team, proud to live in Massachusetts!

But we have more work to do to fight medical cannabis stigma...

Despite another great Super Bowl win for the Patriots last night, it is a real shame that 100 million viewers lost out on seeing an ad rejected by CBS about medical cannabis and its impact on health outcomes, developed by Acreage Holdings.

The 60-second ad (or intended public service announcement) highlights journeys of those suffering with seizures, opioid addiction, and Veterans, and then details how medical cannabis has positively benefited their lives. Check it out – it’s well worth the watch and share. VIEW HERE --> https://youtu.be/j4GpGHgOHAk

Despite the footage having factual backing and real world application, CBS' actions only limits evidence-based medical cannabis education for the general public. Despite these setbacks, the courageous and powerful message produced by Acreage has set many citizens and groups into gear sharing the content, writing blogs about its “prohibition”, and generating discussions around the ethics of allowing alcohol ads and not medical cannabis.

Acreages' call to action for medical cannabis will, and is, going viral.

On Super Bowl night, C3RN set out to really see exactly what CBS ended up choosing to show to 100 million Americans instead of the life saving benefits of medical cannabis. So, we sat down during the game, documented, and classified all commercials the team saw (minus one or two breaks when the internet went out).

What were the results? Out of 123 ads from kick off to the finish line...who ended up winning the airtime? Apparently, CBS prefers that we continue to watch more TV, with an alcoholic spritzer or beer in our hand, grab some insurance or a new T-Mobile line, and then check out the new cars on the market.

However, an informed understanding of how a legal medical cannabis plant positively impacts pediatric seizures, addiction/recovery, Veteran’s health, and many others who face qualifying conditions is...well...not ok. CBS, you missed the boat on this one, and it’s a real shame. Maybe your actions will a cause of Acreages' video going viral?

Total 123 Ads, breakdown by type: 

  • 23% TV Shows
  • 11% Alcohol
  • 11% Services
  • 10% Cars
  • 9% Food
  • 8% Products
  • 7% Mobile Phones
  • 4% Fast Food
  • 4% Sodas
  • 4% Healthcare/Benefactor Ad
  • 3% Entertainment
  • 2% Marines
  • 2% Movies
  • 1% Online dating 

Well, given that only 4% of the ads during the Super Bowl were not necessarily commercially driven, but rather promoted social causes -- we still have a long way to go. 

Why C3RN believes the Acreage ad matters, and why it should have been aired specifically in Massachusetts:

1) Veterans in MA are three times more likely to overdose from an opioid addiction. (MA DPH)

2) MA has one of the worst opioid epidemics in the United States with 1 out of 5 people dying per day. (MA DPH)

3) Medical cannabis is not a silver bullet but has been shown to be a promising harm reduction strategy for opiate addiction/recovery. (Lucas, 2018) 

4) No one has ever clinically overdosed from cannabis (NSEM, 2017) 

5) In our Massachusetts open cannabis consumer and patient survey, 63% of cannabis consumers and patients are using cannabis to reduce unwanted prescription medication intake. (C3RN, 2018) 

Just like this Acreage ad implores, denying reality is unethical – and the time to act is NOW.

We HAVE the tools we have in place NOW – we need leaders like Acreage to continue to break the stigma and increase access to medical cannabis.


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