By Roland Sebestyén
A US-based cannabis company has been informed that its application to air ads during this year’s Super Bowl has been rejected.
According to reports, Weedmaps, one of the largest cannabis marketplaces and delivery services in the US, was rejected for Super Bowl airtime by NBC, the broadcaster of the game on what is the biggest night of the year for advertising.
While support for the medical and recreational use of cannabis have gained momentum and some influential supporters over the last few years, the answer was reportedly “a hard no” much to the disappointment of Weedmaps.
Juanjo Feijoo, Weedmaps COO and CMO told Adweek: “The answer was a hard no—they wouldn’t even entertain the conversation.
“We see ourselves as trying to be trailblazers in the industry and making new inroads where others haven’t gone before in cannabis advertising. So, it was disappointing.”
The decision has been deemed “hypocritical” by some as alcohol and sports betting companies are usually the biggest spenders when it comes to ads during Super Bowl and in major sports league games.
Adweek quotes a spokesperson from NBC claiming, “the network does not accept ads for cannabis or cannabis-related businesses on any of its platforms.”
The decision came only a few days after the NFL and the Players’ Association (NFLPA) announced plans to award $1 million to researchers to better understand cannabis and CBD’s impact on pain management.
The $1 million will go to two teams of medical researchers at the University of California San Diego and the University of Regina. The studies will investigate the effects of cannabinoids on pain management and neuroprotection from concussion in elite football players.
Dr Allen Sills, NFL Chief Medical Officer, said: “As with the league’s broader approach to health and safety, we want to ensure that our players are receiving care that reflects the most up-to-date medical consensus.
“While the burden of proof is high for NFL players who want to understand the impact of any medical decision on their performance, we are grateful that we have the opportunity to fund these scientifically-sound studies on the use of cannabinoids that may lead to the discovery of data-based evidence that could impact the pain management of our players.”
NBC’s call not to run an ad that was meant to educate people about cannabis shows the stigma around cannabis is still there in the US while alcohol-related products and ads are happily displayed for the 100+ million people who will turn into the game.