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Best of the Worst: Fake Marijuana Stories the World Fell For

Headlines can lead to deception—and hilarity.

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With so much information being thrown at us on the daily, an enticing headline can spread like wildfire across social media—even if it's false. Often, these articles can fly under the radar, but if they hit viral status, it becomes pretty evident when the information isn't quite right. With talks of cannabis legalization and reform taking over the media as of late, the famous herb has had its fair share of fake press, too. Here's a handful of the best of the worst—fake and funny marijuana stories that have fooled readers, from cannabis enthusiasts to those who still believe in reefer madness.

"Philip Morris Begins Selling Marlboro “M” Brand Marijuana Cigarettes In Colorado"

Image: NewsWatch33

The headline speaks for itself. Cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris sparked a lot of conversation with the supposed announcement that they were going to sell Marlboro “Marijuana M" brand cigarettes in the summer of 2015. Each pack was said to sell for $89, but the truth is that they didn’t sell at all. They didn’t—and still don’t—exist.

The story can be traced back to NewsWatch33, a satirical news website much like The Onion. The whole point was to demonstrate the probability of large corporations capitalizing on the cash crop that is cannabis (mind the alliteration). Although this story has been proven false, packs of marijuana cigarettes would probably sell just as quickly as this fake story suggests.

"Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization"

You can’t actually overdose on marijuana—at least it hasn’t been proven yet. Those against the legalization of cannabis often argue that by making it readily available, cannabis would be abused and people would, well, die from overdosing. On January 2, 2014, The Daily Currant, a satirical website, capitalized on these fears and wrote about a "tragedy" in Colorado. Don't worry, though; 37 individuals didn’t die from marijuana overdoses—they just got high and went about their lives as usual. The piece was meant to poke fun at those who believe marijuana is more dangerous than cigarettes and alcohol. We’re actually kind of happy that this story received as much attention as it did because the second it was debunked, we’re sure there was a lot of embarrassment felt on the “no” side of the cannabis debate.

"Are Colorado McDonald’s offering marijuana friendly zones?"

Thankfully, busted this one already. Though we know McDonald’s would make a fortune if they offered marijuana-friendly zones (adult PlayPlace anyone?), they’re still a family-friendly restaurant. This story that can be traced back to when poked fun at the idea of cannabis users always ending up at McDonald’s and is yet another example of satire that blew up shortly following legalization in Colorado.

"Biden Worries Legalized Weed In D.C. Will Cut Into His Business"

Believe it or not, there are some conspiracy theorists out there who think that government officials grow and sell pot to make money and criminalize others to save their business. After D.C. legalized the recreational use of cannabis, The Onion figured it would be a great time to capitalize on these beliefs and publish a piece on Vice President Joe Biden’s new competition. The thing is, even though this piece was highly shared, we highly doubt people took the time to read most of it. If you need a hearty laugh, this is the story that’ll get you there.

The legalization of cannabis in Colorado and D.C. was such a big news event that many satirical sites came up with their own phoney headlines to capitalize on the trend. What they might not have expected, however, was that so many people would share these stories thinking they were true. Not everything you read on the internet is true, so be sure to check the facts before sharing. Or, partake in the virality and enjoy a laugh.

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