Recycled Fake News Story Claims Florida Passed Legislation To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Photo Credit: AP

An Internet hoax wrongly claims that Florida has become the next state to legalize recreational marijuana.

“Florida passes bill legalizing recreational use of marijuana” read the headline on ABC, a hoax site using the same logo as the real ABC News.

Facebook users flagged the post as being potentially fabricated, as part of the social network’s efforts to combat online hoaxes.

The article falsely claims that Florida lawmakers passed a bill to legalize medical and recreational marijuana in order to boost the economy and create jobs. It claims that the law will be in place before Easter, which is April 1.

The article included bogus quotes from Rep. Janet Cruz, a Democrat from Tampa, that the bill would stimulate the economy. Cruz is also quoted noting the economic advantages Colorado has after legalizing recreational marijuana.

Those quotes are made up. Karol Molinares, deputy communications director for the Florida House of Representatives’ Democratic Office, said Cruz never said those things.

And no marijuana law like this has passed.

In fact, the site also posted the same fake story about Wisconsin, even using the same quotes, only changing the names of state representatives.

Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 allowing for the use of medical marijuana. Lawmakers produced a bill in 2017 to implement rules and regulations, according to the Associated Press.

Our ruling

A site known to peddle online hoaxes claimed that Florida passed a bill making recreational marijuana legal. But that’s not true. The story was repurposed from a debunked fake story about Wisconsin passing the same fictional legislation.

We rate this claim Pants on Fire.