If you spend any time on the internet, you may have come across a meme showing Oscar-winner Tom Hanks endorsing a CBD brand with a glowing review. But, as the saying goes, it’s fake news.
On Tuesday, Hanks took to Instagram to clear the air. He included a copy of the image making the social-media rounds that includes a hoax quote claiming he was “already feeling like a new” person after using CannaPro’s CBD products for just two weeks.
“This is false and an intentional hoax,” the Forrest Gump star wrote in his Instagram post. “I’ve never said this and would never make such an endorsement. Come on, man! Hanx!”
Another celebrity got caught up in the hoax, as well. Dr. Oz, a popular science TV personality, got name-dropped in that faux Hanks image. And Dr. Oz also says he has nothing to do with CannaPro CBD and hasn’t publicly backed any other weed companies, either.
Could not agree more with @tomhanks. This is a fake and misleading advertisement intended to take advantage of consumers using false claims and our likenesses illegally. I am not involved with any cannabis companies. https://t.co/EBNvnh0jdM— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) January 21, 2020
Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time someone used Hanks’s likeness to hock a fake CBD product. In July of last year, a similar image got blasted on social media with a fake quote purporting that Hanks promoted Cali Naturals’ CBD brand.
What’s going on? Is this all for cheap and transient laughs online, or are people actually getting ripped off by these images? According to TODAY, scammers are pretending to represent legitimate cannabis companies to milk gullible folks of their hard-earned money. Often, these scammers will sling fake or unregulated products through their websites, then change the website names or links to avoid contact with disgruntled “customers.”
“There is a whole army of people who are difficult to find that are using changing sets of hyperlinks that may only last for a couple days, but they're all there to avoid detection,” Steve Baker, a representative of the Better Business Bureau, told TODAY. “Even if a link no longer works, that doesn't mean that the same claims aren't being made for the product somewhere else.”
A close inspection of the CannaPro CBD website will reveal that, yeah, it’s probably a scam. Besides lacking any kind of company contact information, CannaPro CBD claims its oil products can help you “Heal Like a Pro.” The FDA has been cracking down on any and all CBD companies making unfounded health claims for their products. If CannaPro CBD is trying to stay in business, its current strategy is exactly the opposite of what it should be doing right now.
The Hanks hoax has affected another company, known as just CannaPro, which sells gardening and crop-processing equipment. CannaPro, presumably caught up in the drama due to the similar brand name, announced it wasn’t involved. On the company’s contact page, it wrote:
IT HAS COME TO OUR ATTENTION THAT AN INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP GOING BY THE NAME OF CANNAPRO IS SCAMMING PEOPLE FOR A CBD PRODUCT OR PRODUCTS IN THE USA. THIS IS NOT US! WE DO NOT SELL CBD PRODUCTS AND WE ARE NOT LOCATED IN THE USA OR AFFILIATED WITH THIS GROUP WHATSOEVER.
So, there you have it. Neither Tom Hanks nor Dr. Oz endorse CannaPro CBD’s weed products. Besides, the cannabis market is saturated with celebrity brands right now. Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong, Martha Stewart, Uncle Snoop, Lil Wayne, Post Malone, Diddy, Mark Wahlberg, Jay-Z, Drizzy Drake, Carlos Santana, Jimmy Buffet, Bella Thorne, and a horde of other celebs now have their own weed brands or have partnered with one. If Hanks actually lent his name or support to a cannabis company, you would have heard about it by now (including here on MERRY JANE).
But we have an idea for how Hanks could stand out from his A-list competitors, if he truly wanted to jump into the ganja game: He could film himself banging a 30-gram dab, then cloud-nine the camera when exhaling. Extra points for coughing a full 30 seconds afterward.
That may not impress the squares or the narcs, but it’ll definitely get cheers from the real cannabis community.