During testimony at a Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing on Tuesday about a proposal to legalize and decriminalize marijuana in Maryland, Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop cited a fake story that claimed 37 people died the first day pot was legalized in Colorado.
“The first day of legalization, that’s when Colorado experienced 37 deaths that day from overdose on marijuana,” Pristoop testified. “I remember the first day it was decriminalized there were 37 deaths.”
The lawmaker who proposed the legalization bill, Sen. Jamie Raskin, was familiar with the phony story from the satirical news site Daily Currant.
“Unless you have some other source for this, I’m afraid I’ve got to spoil the party here,” Raskin said. “Your assertion that 37 people died of a marijuana overdose in Colorado was a hoax on the Daily Currant and the Comedy Central website.”
When he was contacted by the Capital Gazette after the hearing, Pristoop apologized for the mistake.
“After conducting additional research, it appears that was not accurate at all,” Pristoop said. “I believed at the time that was accurate. But 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 the fake story, Dr. Jack Shepard noted that he was forced to “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. 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 legalize marijuana? What were we thinking?” Shepard is quoted as saying.