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Feb-10-2010 10:57printcommentsVideo

CBS Corporation Bars NORML From Advertising On Times Square Billboard

After being rejected, NORML was told, “If CBS changes their morals we will let you know."

NORML sign
NORML has been an advocacy group for marijuana decriminalization for over 30 years.

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Representatives from CBS and Neutron Media Screen Marketing have rejected a paid advertisement from the NORML Foundation, the educational arm of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), that was intended to appear on the CBS Super Screen billboard in New York City’s Times Square.

The fifteen-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’ 42nd Street digital billboard beginning on Monday, February 1, 2010.

Representatives from Neutron Media approached NORML 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 stating: “I just received word from CBS, and they will not approve your ad. If CBS changes their morals we will let you know.”

Watch the 'controversial' :15 NORML commerical (above)

Commenting on CBS’ last minute rejection of the ad, NORML Foundation Executive Allen St. Pierre said, “Major media corporations like CBS are perfectly okay 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.’ 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."

"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?”

According to the results of a December 2009 Angus Reid survey, fifty-three percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana.

St. Pierre continued: “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."

"The content of NORML’s ad is based on sound, readily identifiable data. Moreover, the message of NORML’s advertisement is supported by a majority of the public. CBS’ denial of this ad spot is based on the company’s political and cultural bias and nothing more."

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 over 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.

NORML’s 15-second animated advertisement is available online here:


Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Amanda Leduc February 10, 2010 11:38 pm (Pacific time)

I think this story needs to be on a billboard!!

Hank Ruark February 10, 2010 12:53 pm (Pacific time)

You can expect more of this kind and level of immoral behavior just so long as the Supreme Court decision to grant greatly strengthened dollar-power to corporate- money manipulation is allowed to continue. To reign in this radical realignment of the First Amendment favoring corporate contrivance to gain control of governance, let Congress know we are watching, listening and preparing for the Second American Revolution --soon.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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