Maryland Cop Tells Senate Marijuana Kills People, After Reading About It On Satire News Website

On the latest episode of Why You Should Always Check If It's Satire: Maryland police chief Michael A. Pristoop testified during a state Senate hearing Tuesday that 37 Colorado residents had died from overdosing on marijuana. Say what? Well, it turns out Pristoop was citing a DailyCurrant article — which, spoiler alert, is fake news. Pristoop had no idea: He read the article online, took the piece as fact, and presented it to the Maryland Senate.

Fortunately, Maryland Sen. Jamie Raskin quickly pointed out that the article Pristoop cited wasn't real. According to Capital Gazette, Raskin said: "Unless you have some other source for this, I’m afraid I’ve got to spoil the party here. Your assertion that 37 people died of a marijuana overdose in Colorado was a hoax on the DailyCurrant and the Comedy Central website."


The Senate hearing was considering the potential benefits and pitfalls of legalizing marijuana in Maryland. Raskin himself had proposed a bill that would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in the state, so he wasn't having any of it.

After Raskin's sharp put-down, Pristoop apologized on the off-chance his source wasn't real — but insisted he was "holding on to the information I was provided."

After the panel meeting, Pristoop realized something was amiss, and apologized to the Capital Gazette over the phone.

After conducting additional research, it appears that was not accurate at all... 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.

Unfortunately, that wasn't his only error: Pristoop also told the hearing that nobody had ever overdosed on beer, which also came from the DailyCurrant article, and also wasn't true.

Maryland Sen. Nancy Jacobs had also responded with complete disbelief, according to according to ThinkProgress: "I think the only person I’ve ever seen overdose on marijuana had a big snack and fell asleep. I mean, come on, overdose on marijuana? I mean now, I’ve seen people overdose on beer.”

Next time Pristoop presents an argument against marijuana legalization, we suggest he read our article about marijuana myths, debunked. But there may be a shred of truth to his claims: German researchers have, in fact, linked two recent deaths to marijuana use.