McDonald’s Billboard With Pot Joke Comes Down

By Kelly Burch 06/08/17

The text on the cheeky billboard said, “Usually, when you roll something this good, it’s illegal.”

outside a McDonald's location

A McDonald’s billboard that advertised breakfast burritos while making a joke about marijuana was taken down after the corporation decided that the tongue-in-cheek ad was not up to the standards of the organization. 

The billboard in New Mexico featured a picture of a McDonald’s breakfast burrito alongside the text, “Usually, when you roll something this good, it’s illegal!” 

The placement of the ad, just ten miles south of Colorado, where recreational marijuana use is legal, meant that many locals found it amusing, according to The Albuquerque Journal. In fact, the local chamber of commerce said that they had no issue with the sign, which went viral after a photo was posted online.

Melissa Grubelnik, tourism coordinator of the Raton Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber “sees the humor” in the sign and did not seek to have it taken down. “We do not have a problem with it,” Grubelnik said. “We hope it encourages people to stop at our newly renovated McDonald’s.”

However, the McDonald’s corporate office demanded that the sign come down, issuing a statement saying, “This local franchise’s billboard does not meet our standards.” The sign was up for about a week before it was taken down. 

The billboard advertised the new green-chile breakfast burrito, making people wonder if the marijuana reference stemmed from the name of the burrito or was more of a political statement. The local franchise owner who approved the billboard declined to comment on the intent behind it. 

Despite its proximity to Colorado, which was one of the first states in the nation to legalize recreational pot, New Mexico has continued to enforce strict marijuana laws. Possession of any amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime, and possession of more than 8 ounces is a felony, as is growing or distributing any amount of cannabis, according to NORML.

Some people laughed at the billboard as a clever joke, while others read meaning into the ad. 

“The billboard jokingly emphasizes the costly dividing line between the dark days of marijuana prohibition and America’s new reality—legal marijuana,” Monterey Bud wrote on

The billboard was initially posted to Facebook by Lamar Advertising of New Mexico-El Paso, the firm that put the ad up. 

“At the request of the owner, we put this baby up in Raton, NM (near the CO border). It's getting a lot of buzz!” the post read. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.