When satire is really good, you can’t even tell it’s satire. Or at least that’s the best explanation I can come up with for why Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop testified against Maryland marijuana decriminalization bills, claiming that 37 people died of marijuana overdoses on the first day it was legal in Colorado. The problem, which should be glaringly obvious to pretty much everyone? That’s a fake number from an article by the DailyCurrant, a satirical news site that competes with the Onion.
The whole point of the DailyCurrant’s satire was that people don’t die from smoking too much pot. You’d hope a police chief would understand that. While Pristoop stood by his hoax statistic on the Senate floor, even after being questioned by State Senator Jamie Raskin, he later backed down. “After conducting additional research, it appears that was not accurate at all,” Pristoop told the Capital Gazette. “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.”
Pristoop wasn’t the only one who fell for the fake news story; the Swedish Minister of Justice posted a link to it on her Facebook page, writing “Stupid and sad. My first exercise in the Youth League was named Crush dope! On that question, I have not changed my opinion at all.” She was quickly and thoroughly mocked for her mistake.