A satirical website managed to trick some people into thinking marijuana was a particularly lethal drug, with a rather excellent hoax story.
The article was headlined: "Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalisation January 2nd, 2014."
Long queues sprung up across Colorado on Thursday, with hordes of customers braving the bitter cold and snow, as the world's first state-licensed marijuana industry opened for business.
But The Daily Currant, decided to have some fun with the new marijuana law.
"Colorado is reconsidering its decision to legalise recreational pot following the deaths of dozens due to marijuana overdoses," the story reads, attributing the shocking death toll to the Rocky Mountain News – a Denver daily newspaper that closed in 2009.
“It’s complete chaos here,” says Dr. Jack Shepard, chief of surgery at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver, “I’ve put five college students in body bags since breakfast and more are arriving every minute.”
"We are seeing cardiac arrests, hypospadias, acquired trimethylaminuria and multiple organ failures," the doctor raved."
Trimethylaminuria is a genetic disease formerly known as "Fish Odor Syndrome."
"By next week the death toll could go as high as 200, maybe 300. Someone needs to step in and stop this madness. My god, why did we legalise marijuana? What were we thinking?"
"Dr. Jack Shepard" was a character on the TV show "Lost."
The spoof story forced the real Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center to issue a news release clarifying that "there is no such doctor as 'Jack Shepard' on our medical staff and that there have been no deaths due to marijuana at our hospital," abc15 reported.
Confused readers took to Twitter to voice their concerns:
So there were 37 deaths in Colorado due to marijuana overdose. Soooo everyone that says marijuana doesn't do anything bad can shut up now.— Cassie (@CaSsJoY22) January 4, 2014
Colorado legalized marijuana use. First day, 37 deaths. Gee aren't you liberals smart?— Jedidiah Timm (@jedidiah4him) January 4, 2014
Just read there were 37 marijuana overdose deaths the first day of its legalization. Did you really think it wouldn't happen, Colorado?— Shane Pendleton (@13SP1) January 3, 2014
Sigh...a minister I know posted a link to a satire site about 37 deaths in Colorado during the first day of legal marijuana.— Boogie (@naima) January 4, 2014
One horrified man said in a YouTube video commentary: "This story just blows me away. Thirty-seven people died in Colorado on New Year's Day when marijuana was legalised… Doctors say they expect hundreds more imminent deaths. This is more deaths than an average day in Iraq and the Afghanistan wars combined."