But it’s not for a lack of trying. Despite being legal in eight states — including Massachusetts, the home state of the favored New England Patriots — marijuana is still too controversial of a topic for mainstream advertising.
But just for the heck of it, let’s review a MarijuanaDoctors.com commercial submitted (and summarily rejected) for last year’s Super Bowl.
In this tongue-in-cheek, 60-second spot was produced in 2014 and the cannabis outfit tried and failed for a high-priced placement in 2016. The ad features a rather hackneyed analogy between buying illicit sushi and black-market weed.
RELATED STORY: 71% Of NFL Players Want Marijuana Legal
It’s not just marijuana that got the heave-ho from the NFL. Vitamin and supplement retailer GNC planned a 30-second commercial that was rejected by the league because it sells products — synephrine (a stimulant) and DHEA (a steroid) — banned by the NFL. Marijuana is also on the banned substance list.
Over the years, Super Bowl advertising has become a huge revenue stream for TV networks. More than 100 million will watch the telecast. According to Ad Age, spending for commercials last year was roughly $380 million. The cost of a 30-second spot exceeds this year will run $5 million, more than twice the rate of 10 years ago.
RELATED STORY: NFL’s Marijuana Policy May Change Sooner Rather Than Later
Despite being denied pricy air time, the cannabis industry will be in force in Houston over the weekend. Doctors for Cannabis Regulation will have a presence in the Super Bowl city. In addition, the pro-cannabis group is running a national campaign to engage the NFL in hopes of changing the league’s cannabis policy.
The organization’s goal is clear:
In solidarity with many current and former NFL players, we recently submitted an Open Letter to the NFL. We recommend that the NFL and its Physicians Society:
- treat cannabis like alcohol under the Policy
- consider medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain management
- support promising research into potential neuroprotective effects of cannabinoids
- play a leading role in addressing the overprescription of opioids across the league
The open letter is signed by a host of doctors, researchers and nine former NFL players.
For those of you who enjoy the ads more than the game, here is the list of commercials set for Sunday.