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Times Square Is Too Clean for Marijuana Ad

Tickers in this article: CBSO

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Times Square is so squeaky clean now, that it's too nice for a marijuana ad. Weedmaps spent $50,000 for a jumbotron ad that got pulled at the last minute.

Neutron Media books the ad space for the CBS Outdoors property and had reviewed the ad and approved it. It's pretty tame. The eight second ad begins with the text, "High NYC" and then the Weedmaps smiley face comes in with a puff of smoke and that's about it.

New York has no form of legalized marijuana and while there is some proposed legislation, it isn't expected to go in front of the voters until 2016. In the meantime, Weedmaps would like to introduce themselves to New Yorkers. Weedmaps is a Web site based out of Irvine, Calif. that gives locations and ratings to marijuana dispensaries. The company employs 65 people and has revenue of $30 million annually.

Justin Hartfield of Weedmaps said there were two reasons they took out the ad in Times Square. "At our core, we want to repeal marijuana laws and we anticipate New York will legalize marijuana," said Hayfield.

Neutron told Weedmaps the ad would run on Tuesday, but it didn't. On Wednesday Neutron said CBS legal was reviewing the ad. Hartfield is cautiously optimistic. "In my opinion, I believe they are protected under the First Amendment."

Times Square is no longer the seedy home of peep shows and hookers. It is now a family friendly tourist zone anchored by an Olive Garden restaurant. The Weedmaps ad would run above a Coldstone ice cream store.

Ray Shapira, the Neutron Group account executive in charge of the CBS location did not return calls for comment.

Weedmaps hopes that Neutron returns its money if the ad isn't going to be shown. Hartfield is still committed to New York, saying, "We expect the New York market to be the largest in the world."

-- Written by Debra Borchardt in New York.