CBS Rejects Marijuana Legalization Ad From NORML


Graphic: NORML
Neutron Media to NORML: “If CBS changes their morals we will let you know.” (See the rejected ad below.)

CBS and Neutron Media Screen Marketing have rejected a paid marijuana legalization advertisement from NORML that was intended to appear on the CBS Super Screen billboard in New York City’s Time Square.
The 15-second ad, which asserts that taxing and regulating the adult use and sale of marijuana would raise billions of dollars in national revenue, was scheduled to appear on CBS’s 42nd Street digital billboard beginning February 1.
According to NORML, representatives from Neutron Media approached the pro-pot organization in mid-January about placing the ad, which was scheduled to air 18 times per day for a two-month period. The NORML Foundation entered into a contractual agreement with Neutron Media to air two separate NORML advertisements, and produced an initial ad exclusively for broadcast on the CBS digital billboard.

Days after NORML’s submission of the ad, the organization received the following e-mail, dated February 3, from a representative from Neutron Media:
“I just received word from CBS and they will not approve your ad. If CBS changes their morals we will let you know.”
This is NORML’s 15-seond animated advertisement intended for Times Square (don’t freak; there’s not supposed to be any sound):

Photo: NORML
Executive Director Allen St. Pierre: “The message of NORML’s advertisement is supported by a majority of the public”

​”Major media corporations like CBS are perfectly OK airing programming that allows them to profit off the public’s interest in marijuana and marijuana law reform, such as Showtime’s hit series Weeds and the online series ‘Marijuana Nation,'” said NORML Foundation Executive Allen St. Pierre.
“Yet these same corporate entities balk at airing media that calls on reforming America’s criminal marijuana policies – policies that have led directly to the arrest of over 20 million Americans since 1965,” St. Pierre said. “How can advocates be expected to change these failed policies when those that control America’s airwaves refuse to allow them a public forum to voice their point of view?”
“University studies show that regulating the adult use of marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol would raise over $30 billion annually in new tax revenue, while saving an addition $15 billion per year in law enforcement costs,” St. Pierre said. “The content of NORML’s ad is based on sound, readily identifiable data.”

Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion

​”Moreover, the message of NORML’s advertisement is supported by a majority of the public,” St. Pierre pointed out. “CBS’ denial of this ad spot is based on the company’s political and cultural bias and nothing more.”
According to the results of a December 2009 Angus Reid survey of 1,004 voters, 53 percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana.
Last summer NORML entered into negotiations with CBS to launch a live Saturday night radio broadcast on the corporation’s talk radio network. CBS representatives initially agreed to the programming, but then abruptly canceled the contract after NORML raised the funding to produce its first show. 
In 2009, the NORML Foundation launched the first-ever nationwide television ad campaign calling for the regulation of marijuana by adults. The Foundation purchased more than 7,500 ad buys on prominent cable networks like CNBC, Fox News, G4, and FX.
The ad campaign did not air on CBS-affiliated networks.