"Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37" story among Colorado pot satires some take seriously

Since the launch of legal marijuana sales in Colorado on January 1, major media organizations have taken hit after hit of news from the scene.

And the nation's satirists have been busy as well, cranking out stories with headlines such as "Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization."

Think no one could take such ridiculous tales seriously? Think again.

The Daily Currant doesn't exactly mask its intent. The "About" page of its website answers the question, "Are your news stories real?" like so: "No. Our stories are purely fictional. However, they are meant to address real-world issues through satire and often refer and link to real events happening in the world."

Hence, the aforementioned overdose story. Here's a screen-capture from the piece:

Clues that the item isn't legit come early and often. For instance, the source of the information is supposedly the Rocky Mountain News, which has been shuttered for several years, and folks quoted include Dr. Jack Shepherd, a character from Lost, and Jesse Pinkman, one of the principals in Breaking Bad. Not that one commenter caught the references. His post begins like so:
I didn't watch Lost or Breaking Bad, so the names meant nothing to me, and it's funny how people will consider me stupid for not knowing the names. Those people will likely be on the same intellectual plane as the people who wrote this moronic article and thought it was funny.

This is classified as satire, but it was rather irresponsible of the people who wrote it to publish it. There are enough people out there who aren't marijuana experts to actually spread this as actual news.

Another poster adds:
Articles like this one are written as a "joke" to those that know better and as a form of mind control for those that do not. In 6 months when the next state votes on legalization what will be voters minds is 300 kids died in Colorado, not the tax money will help our economy. I found this article on FB, from people who believe it, a lot believe it! So laugh it off, call people stupid and enjoy the propaganda show.
At least one reader reacted similarly to "Colorado Pot Shop Attempts To Disarm Citizens With `Weed for Guns` Buyback Program," from The National Report, another satirical news site.

Here's a screen capture from that post....

...which offers this inventory of trade rates:
Assault Weapon: 1 oz Blackberry Kush OR 1 oz Green Crack Semi-automatic handgun: 1 oz Skywalker OG OR Jamaican Pearl Revolvers: 1 oz White Widow OR 1 oz Blue Dream Rifles and Shotguns: 1/2 oz Sour Apple OR 5 Clones Inoperable firearms: 1/2 oz Afpak Kush OR 4 Bhang Bars BB Guns: One premium pre-roll OR "Weed for Guns" lighter Knives: Grab bag special OR one edible *Early Bird Special ~ Come before 12:00 and get a free special blend joint OR edible.
Silly? Sure -- but one reader seems to see the concept as an attack on his Second Amendment rights. "Big Brother will do anything to disarm us," he states.

At this point, though, folks may be catching on. Another National Report salvo is headlined "Feds Raid Colorado Pot Shops" and features this provocative image:

Thus far, though, the story features no angry comments. Consider that progress.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Videos archive circa November: "Videos of the Day: Saturday Night Live, Letterman bust on Colorado over weed."

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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