If there’s an important moment for advertisers, it’s the Super Bowl. The ads played during the game tend to reflect cultural milestones and moments, whether that means a new technology or the trendiest actors. This year, Snoop Dogg is among the night’s entertainers. Does this mean weed companies finally get a chance to run some ads?
The Verge reports that despite the fact that products as varied as cryptocurrencies and all sorts of liquors are getting their chance to run ads, cannabis is once again shut out of the game.
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The NFL has a list of restricted products, which no ads can reference. “Cannabis falls within that restricted category,” said Alex Riethmiller, spokesperson for the league.
The NFL is picky with the ads they play during the Super Bowl, following their own set of rules. For example, antidepressants, birth control pills, and gambling ads are fair game while ads for condoms and cannabis are not allowed. This year’s list of banned products is not available, but in 2017 it included products like fireworks, social cause, and issue advocacy, tobacco products, male enhancements products, and more.
This isn’t the first year where a cannabis business has tried to air an ad during the most viewed TV program of the year. In 2019, Acreage Holdings, a medical marijuana company, tried to air an ad highlighting their products. They were denied. This year, Weedmaps, a company from California, tried to broach the topic with the NFL but was swiftly shut down. “It was a blanket ‘no,’” said the company’s COO.
Cannabis ads remain a controversial topic. As is the case with most things in this industry, while a majority of people long for the drug’s normalization, policies and guidelines remain leagues behind.