CBD Cheeseburgers and Cannabis as a Marketing Gimmick: Welcome to the 21st Century

As 2019 sees various jurisdictions toying with different levels of cannabis permissions, a new phenomenon is emerging: Cannabis as a marketing gimmick. The latest example to titillate the mainstream is Carl’s Jr.’s “Rocky Mountain High: Cheeseburger Delight”, which went on sale at a single location in Denver on April 20th for — what else? — $4.20.

Also read: Bad Optics: Police Searches of Cancer Patients Are Not Helping the Anti-Cannabis Cause

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first. The Rocky Mountain High burger contained roughly 5 milligrams of hemp-derived CBD extract in its Santa Fe sauce — which means there wasn’t any “high” in the sense of the word Carl’s Jr.’s marketing department was implying. But that, along with the debut date/price, is a sign of the times we live in. Welcome to the era of cannabis-derived product advertising, as corporations cash in on the legalization trend.

Carl's Jr. post on Facebook
Carl’s Jr. post on Facebook


Cannabis Marketing Is… OK

We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with that, per se. It also has the welcome effect of normalizing cannabis terminology and cultural memes, which in turn could produce a more permissive approach to legalization. It’s no longer dangerous or even edgy… just slightly cheeky.

As permissiveness spreads, expect to see a lot of new/old jokes from food manufacturers about the munchies, use of the word “high” even where it’s not applicable, and other nudge-wink references to remind baby boomers and GenX-ers of their youth while selling consumer goods to them and their kids. We predict a stream of new downstream industries to flow in food, fashion and entertainment.

Hey, it’s all good for the economy right? And we’ve even bemoaned that White Castle has spectacularly failed to jump on the bandwagon it helped to inspire.

What’s important is keeping our eyes on the main message too, which is to highlight the positive benefits of responsible cannabis use, and the very-real products that promote health and wellbeing.

It’s All Progress

Media outlets have pointed out that the U.S. FDA still prohibits adding CBD to food and drink, even though the substance itself remains in a legal grey area. But if major chains are pushing ahead by adding it to food anyway — and there’s no resulting national health crisis — then regulations may change rapidly.

As time goes on, support for cannabis prohibition will appear less rational and the fearmongering its proponents have engaged in over the years will make less sense. If it ultimately results in more effective and less harmful medical treatments, and safer recreational alternatives to alcohol and tobacco, then we’ll endure the marketing hype.

Do you agree? Are you annoyed or encouraged by corporations cashing in on the cannabis trend? Let us know in the comments.

Images via Carl’s Jr., Pixabay

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