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Hoax Alert

Fake News: Florida Did NOT Pass Bill Legalizing Recreational Use of Marijuana

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Sat, 17 Mar 2018 09:59:00 Z)

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Is recreational use of marijuana now legal in Florida? Has pot use been legalized by a new bill? Unfortunately for Florida weed smokers, no.

The rumor originated on a fake news website using the domain name abcnews-us.com which falsely uses the logo of ABCNews (the real website is at abcnews.go.com). The fake site publised an article on March 17th 2018 titled "Florida passes bill legalizing recreational use of marijuana" (archived here) which opened:

Orlando, Fl. - Weed smokers rejoice, The state of Florida can now be added to the growing list of US states that have past bills to legalize the use marijuana.

The bill to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use in the state was first presented at the state capital back in July is expected to be in place by Easter. Lawmakers have finally given the go-ahead citing it will jump-start the economy and create new jobs.

"This bill is so much more than legalizing marijuana--it's about legalizing opportunity and prosperity," said Democratic leader Janet Cruz. "The state budget was due two weeks ago, and Florida simply can't afford to wait any longer. We deserve a real plan to create new jobs and stimulate our lagging economy, and that's what this bill is."

The fake story is almost word-for-word the same as an earlier fake legal marijuana story about Wisconsin published by the same site about three months ago. Compare:

MADISON, Wis. - Weed smokers rejoice, The state of Wisconsin can now be added to the growing list of US states that have past bills to legalize the use marijuana.

The bill to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use in the state was first presented at the state capital back in July is expected to be in place by the end of the year. Lawmakers have finally given the go-ahead citing it will jump-start the economy and create new jobs.

"This bill is so much more than legalizing marijuana--it's about legalizing opportunity and prosperity," said Democratic Melissa Sargent. "The state budget was due two weeks ago, and Wisconsin simply can't afford to wait any longer. We deserve a real plan to create new jobs and stimulate our lagging economy, and that's what this bill is."

Normally we at Lead Stories despise sites that copy content without giving credit but in this case it is the owner of a fake site "stealing" his own content so we'll let it slide.

floridaweed.jpg

The same fake news site was also responsible for the recent Pamela Anderson death hoax and for reviving another hoax about a funeral home employee being accidentally cremated during a nap.

As the High Times, a publication specializing in marijuana-related issues, reported only two weeks ago:

Florida voters legalized medical marijuana by a 71 percent majority in 2016. Subsequently, the state legislature outlawed smokeable forms of cannabis in 2017. Patients would have to rely on vaping, topicals, tinctures, edibles and other non-combustible forms of cannabis. Legislators cited the health risks of smoking as the reason for the ban.

Don't be taken in by this fake news story: it might get you arrested for possession or worse!

Updates:

: The story seems to have been copied by Your Daily Ideas, a dodgy website registered in Pakistan.

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk
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