Fake News Article Cited By Louisiana Lawmaker In Argument Against Medical Marijuana

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Photo Credit: PATRICK DENNIS

As a bill seeking to expand Louisiana’s medical marijuana laws works its way through Louisiana’s legislature, it’s facing a bit of confusion.

As one lawmaker argued against HB579 in a House committee Thursday, she referenced a satirical news article from The Daily Currant claiming 37 people died on the first day recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado in January 2014.

That story is fake. The information is untrue.

Rep. Dodie Horton (R-Haughton) cited the information from the satirical news outlet during a discussion before the committee voted on the bill. She later replied to a tweet from an Advocate reporter identifying her source as a satirical outlet, saying she received the story from “a so-called ‘trusted’ source,” before blocking that reporter from her account. She acknowledged in the tweet she now realizes her source was not credible.

[Editor’s note: Horton on Thursday afternoon apologized to The Advocate reporter whom her account blocked on Twitter.]

Several online articles, including those from The Huffington Post and Snopes, identify the post as false. Rep. Ted James (D-Baton Rouge), the bill’s sponsor, returned to the podium to close the discussion and said he wished to address Horton’s remarks. At that point she acknowledged the information to be false, but declined to address it to onlookers or correct the public record.

The bill would allow people with glaucoma, severe muscle spasms, intractable pain and post traumatic stress disorder to receive prescriptions for marijuana. It also initially would have allowed smokable marijuana, as opposed to the cannabis oil currently covered, but the committee amended the bill to remove the additional form.

The bill eventually passed the committee by a vote of 8-4 and will move to the House floor for consideration.

Many who observed the exchange on Twitter were quick to criticize Horton for her remarks and her response. Some cited the other headlines on The Daily Currant, which include fake stories like “Obama Nominates Abortion Doctor to Replace Scalia on Supreme Court” and “Sarah Palin Licks Frozen Flagpole in Iowa, Gets Stuck” to poke fun at the lawmaker.

The article cited does not appear online and may have been removed from site itself. The Daily Currant has not posted any new content since June, 2016.

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