Carl’s Jr. Sells CBD-Infused Burgers and They Were Gobbled Up

Carl's Jr. CBD Burger

Read Time: 2:00 Mins.

Can a marketing stunt by a burger chain actually make CBD available to everyone and shake off any lingering, misplaced concerns about cannabis and hemp? When it comes to nationwide perceptions, the answer is yes. We recently published a story on CVS and Walgreens selling CBD products, and when large corporations promote CBD and cannabis in a positive light, this is good for the entire cannabis community. This story is worth noting for its positive impact on continuing CBD acceptance in America. You could even say this CBD cheeseburger was well done.

On April 20, the fast-food chain Carl’s Jr. sold CBD-infused cheeseburgers at a single location in Denver, Colorado. The only problem? It was completely illegal under federal law but the national chain chose to thumb its nose to the FDA. From a marketing point of view, it was an enormous, viral success as hundreds of news outlets and industry trade groups spread the word online and on TV prior to the event. That’s free advertising for the national chain. The inside joke is that the event took place on 4.20, a date synonymous with cannabis use. Read our story about 420 here. So in one corporate marketing event, a national, publically-traded company made positive, humorous news about 420 and the use of CBD in a family restaurant chain.

Rocky Mountain High CBD Burger

Coily dubbed “The Rocky Mountain High CheeseBurger Delight,” the company described it as “two 100% charbroiled beef patties paired with Carl’s Jr. signature Santa Fe Sauce infused with hemp-based CBD oil.” Customers had to be at least 18 years old to order the burger and employees checked IDs.

Patty Trevino, Senior Vice President, Brand Marketing at Carl’s Jr. said “The new Rocky Mountain High CheeseBurger Delight ties back to our core strategy of being the first to bring bold and unexpected flavors that are at the forefront of hot restaurant trends to a quick service menu. Our customers have come to expect innovative and unique menu offerings, and we’re thrilled to be the first quick service restaurant to be testing CBD infused options.”

This is illegal under federal law and regulations, however. The FDA is responsible for regulating CBD infused food and beverages and has not issued any CBD guidelines. It is holding a public hearing on May 31 about CBD “to obtain scientific data and information about the safety, manufacturing, product quality, marketing, labeling, and sale of products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds.” Three Wells has been asked to speak at the hearing and we’re sending a representative to make sure our voices, the voices of mature adults, are heard.

Carl’s Jr. must have calculated that the risk of the FDA bringing an action over a one-time event was worth the massive press and media coverage. They also probably felt fairly well protected in Colorado as Gov. John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1295, which applies Colorado’s existing food manufacturing guidelines to hemp oil-infused coffees and hemp-derived CBD extracts.

The single location sold 102 Rocky Mountain High CheeseBurger Delights within the first hour, 274 by 9 a.m., and sold out by 4 p.m. It cost $4.20 (of course), and news reports indicated they sold over 2,000 cheeseburgers. The hemp-derived CBD oil came from Bluebird Botanicals, a local Colorado company and the company handed out free samples at the Carl’s Jr. location in Denver.

In the end, this was a one day test and Carl’s Jr. must be pleased with the results. As federal regulations emerge, it won’t be too long when announcing a CBD infused menu item is no longer national news. That’s a positive step for the entire cannabis community for helping change the accessibility and perception of CBD and cannabis across our country.

Would you try a CBD burger or a CBD-infused beverage if you had the option? Have you already tried one? How was it? Share your thoughts with us!

Philip Rebentisch is a writer and the Content Editor for Three Wells.