Marijuana

4/20 Special: Colorado McDonald's Pot Lounges Story Going Viral Again

The photo with the spoof news story about Colorado McDonald's restaurants turning their play areas into pot smoking lounges.
The photo with the spoof news story about Colorado McDonald's restaurants turning their play areas into pot smoking lounges. news8now.com
Here's more evidence that nothing on the Internet ever dies: A spoof story about McDonald's restaurants in Colorado transforming their play areas into marijuana smoking lounges, which first fooled gullible web surfers in October 2015, has gone viral again, just in time for 4/20.

This is the second time this month that a years-old satirical pot article has been resurrected. As documented in our recent roundup of fake marijuana news stories chosen by Peter Marcus of TheNewsStation.com, Louisiana state representative Dodie Horton recently spoke about a 2014 post from The Daily Currant claiming that 37 people had died from "marijuana overdoses" in Colorado after legalization went into effect.

Actually, they didn't, as Horton subsequently admitted. She blamed the misinformation on "a so-called 'trusted' source." Here's a screen capture from that item:

FILE PHOTO
File photo
Ridiculous, right? Yet plenty of readers believed it — and Michael Pristoop, a police chief in Maryland, actually cited it in state senate testimony two months after it had been debunked.


Future Hortons and Pristoops shouldn't rest easy, because there are plenty of other bogus marijuana news items floating around cyberspace.

One example is this January 2014 piece from The National Report; its full headline reads, "Colorado Pot Shop Attempts to Disarm Citizens With `Weed for Guns` Buyback Program."

FILE PHOTO
File photo
Our favorite response came from a reader who didn't realize the story was fake: "Big Brother will do anything to disarm us."

Also appearing in he first month of 2014 was this piece about former Representative Michele Bachmann from the news-satire site Newslo:

FILE PHOTO
File photo
Nothing about the "facts" of this story checked out — yet the City of Fort Collins, where the supposed arrest took place, had to take to Twitter to deny the Internet rumor about Bachmann's bogus bust.

More than a year later, in May 2015, DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), the venerable anti-drug organization, published on its website a story from the satirical website topekasnews.com headlined, "Edible Marijuana Candies Kill 9 in Colorado, 12 at Coachella:"

FILE PHOTO
File photo
The article is highlighted by mentions of lethal goodies "Uncle Tweety's Chewy Flipper" and "Gummy Satans" — names that seem to have struck the folks at DARE as entirely realistic.

Apparently, this was also the case for those who believed the original McDonald's story, even though other reports from its satire-minded source, Now8News.com, around that time included "White Woman Gives Birth to Black Baby, Claims the Ghost of Michael Jackson Impregnated Her" and "Woman Arrested in Walmart for Trying on Tampons in the Feminine Care Aisle."

Nonetheless, the McDonald's article has been all over Twitter in recent weeks, either amusing or confusing a new batch of readers.

Hope they're not disappointed when they go to a McDonald's play area and find nothing but slides and ball baths.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts