Satire Claims Another Victim: Police Chief Cites Fake News Story As Proof That Weed Kills

  one joke over the line

No meth-head could build thatBargain-rack Onion imitator The Daily Currant found its way into testimony given to the Maryland Senate Tuesday by Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop, who solemnly informed a Senate panel of the disaster that lies in wait for any state that legalizes marijuana:

“The first day of legalization, that’s when Colorado experienced 37 deaths that day from overdose on marijuana,” Pristoop testified at Tuesday’s Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing. “I remember the first day it was decriminalized there were 37 deaths.”

Yes, and we vividly remember Neil Armstrong saying “Jesus H. Christ, Houston, We’re on the fucking Moon.” Happily, Pristoop was almost immediately interrupted by state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Hipster), who recognized the fake story and said,

“Unless you have some other source for this, I’m afraid I’ve got to spoil the party here … Your assertion that 37 people died of a marijuana overdose in Colorado was a hoax on the DailyCurrant and the Comedy Central website.”

Just to fact-check Raskin’ fact-checking, it doesn’t look like Comedy Central picked up the “story” — why would they? They make their own fake news — so we’re going to have to give him a “Partly Pinocchio” rating there. Pristoop then said that until he knew otherwise, he was going to stand by his misstatement:

“If it was a misquote, then I’ll stand behind the mistake … But I’m holding on to information I was provided.”

It’s not quite up there with Richard Daley’s “The police are not here to create disorder, they’re here to preserve disorder,” but it’s pretty darn good. Later, after testifying, Pristoop apologized, and posted a statement to the Annapolis PD’s FacePlace page:

Chief Pristoop, after conducting additional research, discovered that the numbers presented were not accurate but an urban myth. “I apologize for the information I provided concerning the deaths. I believed the information I obtained was accurate but I now know the story is nothing more than an urban legend,” Chief Michael Pristoop stated.

We’re still waiting for some folklorists to contact Pristoop so that he can issue another statement apologizing for conflating “satire” with urban legends. But fine, save face a little bit. On the other hand, Chief Pristoop remains wedded to the law enforcement myth that marijuana is dangerous, and insisted to the Capital Gazette that while the Colorado story was bogus,

“I don’t think it takes away from the other facts we presented … I’m guilty of being a human being. I tried really hard to present verified facts.”

In addition to the trivial detail that marijuana isn’t deadly, The Daily Currant story had a few other hints that the story was fake — even if “Dr. Jack Shepard” didn’t make readers think of Lost, they could have looked up the list of alleged medical complaints caused by the demon weed: “We are seeing cardiac arrests, hypospadias, acquired trimethylaminuria and multiple organ failures..” Hypospadias is a birth defect in which the male urethral opening isn’t at the end of the willy, but inconveniently elsewhere (ha-ha! pee joke!), and trimethylaminuria is a metabolic disorder also commonly known as “fish odor syndrome.” And maybe the impassioned anti-pot opinion by the fictional CEO of the MolsonCoors brewing company might have been a giveaway?

“Marijuana is a deadly hardcore drug that causes addiction and destroys lives. “When was the last time you heard of someone overdosing on beer?

Then again, the internet is a big scary place, and not everyone knows how to check facts. And who knows, maybe Harry Potter really is a recruiting tool for Satanists.

[Daily Current / Capital Gazette via ThinkProgress]

Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He promises not to “bogart” all the “Mary Jane” jokes.

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About the author

Doktor Zoom lives in Boise, Idaho. He acquired his pseudonym after being differently punctual to too many meetings. He is not a medical doctor, although he has a real PhD (in Rhetoric and Composition).

View all articles by Doktor Zoom

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