Does “Grass” make your Beef Better?

Kris DeAngelo, of MSU's Institute for Food Laws and Regulations, takes a wry look at the new cannabis-infused burger by Carl's Jr.

The Rocky Mountain High CheeseBurger Delight from Carl's Jr. includes a CBD-infused sauce. (Carl's Jr.)
The Rocky Mountain High CheeseBurger Delight from Carl's Jr. includes a CBD-infused sauce. (Carl's Jr.)

You might have heard that Carl’s Jr. will be debuting a cannabis-infused burger in the Denver area on 4-20. The burger aptly named the Rocky Mountain High will sell for $4.20 and includes two beef patties, jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, waffle fries and 5 milligrams of CBD extract from hemp in their special Santa Fe sauce. While you may not be able to eat just one, this should make you hungry for more information…. 

It’s an ILLEGAL burger

At this point adding cannabis or any hemp derived cannabidiol (CBD extract or oil) to any food is illegal and violates the US Food Drug and Cosmetic Act.  Yes - The FDA has scheduled a public hearing on May 31, 2019 which will allow stakeholders to voice opinions and share information regarding the safety of such products, but it is CURRENTLY an illegal food additive. Those who cannot attend the public hearing can comment now at Even though President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill, it doesn’t mean that all other laws relating to cannabis and marijuana are null and void.  The only legal or approved products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds such as CBD are by prescription for seizures.  Companies simply can’t add illegal substances to food.  This burger belongs behind bars.

It May Open Carl’s Jr. to LITIGATION

The FDC&A is designed to protect consumers from unsafe food.  Illegal additives make the food automatically adulterated just like pieces of rubber or insect parts. Although you might not care that food is adulterated after eating the Rocky Mountain High Burger, medical literature describes isolated cases of allergic reactions, hypersensitivity and even anaphylaxis to cannabis in various forms.  And because Carl’s Jr. is offering a product that is, by definition, adulterated it may impact their bottom line if someone either intentionally or accidentally eats one, and suffers adverse effects, and decides to litigate.  

We’re trusting the CHILDREN

Face it, kids run most fast food restaurants like Carl’s Jr..  I’m not calling your kid a pothead but those distraction devices glued to their hands may just cause them to give a Rocky Mountain High burger to the wrong customer. Realizing this is tongue in cheek because CBDs do not cause a high, will your personal ideology against CBD be calmed if you accidentally ingest it or will it leave you craving more? Will the Santa Fe sauce be sampled in the kitchen and if so will the employees suddenly feel the urge to spend their paychecks at Carl’s Jr.?

Maybe, after taste testing a few too many of their new burgers, Carl’s Jr. management feels a little too mellow about the temporary notoriety with their law-breaking publicity stunt.  However, perhaps they should reconsider their novel concept of “Grass” fed beef.

Sorry to be a BUZZ KILL.

*Legal Disclaimer – this does not constitute legal advice.  Please consult your own attorney so that he/she may change you suitable billable hours.


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