The perpetuation of fake news is a national epidemic that poisons our political discourse, influenced the 2016 presidential election, and has even put people’s lives in dangers. In fact, cannabis prohibition was first instituted based upon fake news that played upon the racist and anti-immigrant sentiment of the time. Unfortunately, a false claim regarding edible deaths out of Colorado printed in the Los Angeles Times could unfortunately add to the Reefer Madness propaganda that cannabis law reformers have been battling for decades. The Times reported upon a statement by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper:
“We didn’t regulate edibles strongly enough at first,” Hickenlooper said in an interview this week at a gathering in Coronado of the Western Governors’ Assn. He cited a spike in emergency room visits by kids who had eaten marijuana products and, in a few cases, died [emphasis added].”
Hat tip to Tom Angell over at Marijuana.com for calling this latest flub out. As Angell has reported, this wasn’t the first time that the Los Angeles Times reported fake marijuana news as the paper was previously fooled by a prank press release from the the Yes Men, a pair of activists who have successfully duped major media outlets in the past, who were colloborating with the Potanist.co marijuana group. As Angell also notes, marijuana sites have been duped by their own fake news, with headlines like ”Federal Study Will Pay You $3,000 Per Week to Consume Cannabis” and “NASA Will Pay You $18,000 to Stay in Bed and Smoke Weed for 70 Straight Days.”
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper tenure will always be associated with legal marijuana, whether he likes it or not, as his state helped lead the way on regulated cannabis commerce, showing that legalization doesn’t cause the sky to fall. Not only didn’t the sky fall in Colorado, but the state has experienced an economic boom and its cities are often listed as the top places to live and conduct business. And no one has died due to simply eating marijuana-infused edibles or from any type of marijuana overdose. It bears repeating: no one has ever died from a lethal marijuana overdose.
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