NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) announced Monday that the group failed to advance to the third round of a contest hosted by the software company Intuit. NORML was competing to have a professionally produced TV commercial air during Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014. 

Intuit’s "Small Business, Big Game" contest, which began in August, gave NORML the opportunity to place an entry that resolutely declared: "Together, we WILL legalize marijuana."

NORML won round one on September 25 by finishing first in an online vote open to the public. However, the group failed to advance to round three. According to a NORML blog post, “Intuit removed the ability [for the public] to sort by popularity during the second round.” Unfortunately, “for reasons not communicated to NORML,” Intuit decided not to advance the pro-pot organization to the third round.

According to a post on Intuit’s Facebook page, “It’s important to note that votes only accounted for 10% of the judging criteria in Round 2.”

The third round will see Intuit staff narrowing down the 20 semi-finalists to four finalists, with the public choosing the winning company via an online vote in November.

In a statement, NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri responded: “It is unfortunate that Intuit seems to be relying more on outdated political values instead of overwhelming public opinion when it comes to selecting which entries advanced in their contest.”  

Altieri added that based on the positive public support and media coverage, "the country was ready and eager to see an ad for sensible marijuana law reforms during the most watched TV program of the year. This could’ve been a win for all groups involved, but instead Intuit will likely have only generated ill will for itself amongst the 58% of Americans who now support ending our country’s war on marijuana.”