- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 5, 2018

A Louisiana state legislator cited a satirical news article falsely blaming marijuana for dozens of deaths as fact during a House committee hearing while arguing against a bill expanding Louisiana’s existing medical cannabis laws.

State Rep. Dodie Horton, Haughton Republican, referenced a bogus article published by “The Daily Currant,” the self-proclaimed “Global Satirical Newspaper of Record,” around two hours into a House Health and Welfare Committee hearing Thursday held shortly before its members voted in favor of broadening Louisiana’s existing medical marijuana law to cover patients diagnosed with conditions including chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and glaucoma.

“There has been a broad statement,” said Ms. Horton, “… that no one, no one, has ever died of an overdose of marijuana. No one. But in January 2014, the Colorado publication The Currant, The Daily Currant — they reported 37 died from overdose on the first day that the marijuana was legalized.”

“Thirty-seven died,” Ms. Horton insisted. “You can laugh. But it is fact.”

Marijuana wasn’t actually linked to dozens of overdoses in Colorado, however, and The Daily Currant — a website that previously published other bogus articles with titles including “George Bush Accidentally Votes for Obama” and “Sarah Palin Calls for Invasion of Czech Republic” — isn’t a legitimate news website.

Ms. Horton conceded she cited a bogus source upon being confronted on Twitter by a reporter for The Advocate, a Baton Rouge-based daily newspaper, before subsequently blocking the journalist who called her out.

“I was given this info from a so-called ‘ Trusted’ source but now know that the story was not credible!” Ms. Horton tweeted Thursday.

The bill ultimately passed by an 8-4 vote, sending it to the Louisiana state House for further consideration.

Louisiana legalized medical marijuana in 2015, but the state still lacks a system for dispensing the plant the patients. If passed, the bill advanced Thursday would broaden the law so that people diagnosed with with glaucoma, severe muscle spasms, intractable pain and PTSD may use medical cannabis, The Advocate reported.

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 29 states and Washington, D.C., notwithstanding federal law prohibiting the plant.

Marijuana has been legalized for recreational purposes in nine states and D.C., meanwhile, including six where the plant could be purchased from retail dispensaries.

The Daily Currant has published satirical pieces since June 2016 when it ran an article titled “Donald Trump Drops Out, Claims ‘Joke Has Gone Too Far.’”

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