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Colorado on the Web: Spoof marijuana story turns heads online

By: Dalton Walker The Gazette
January 9, 2014 Updated: January 10, 2014 at 1:48 am
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photo - Dalton Walker Friday, October 4, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Dalton Walker Friday, October 4, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

The talk this week on the Colorado on the Web blog was all about marijuana. Well, marijuana and death, to be exact.

The satirical online newspaper The Daily Currant posted a story with a disturbing headline: "Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization."

Of course, the fake article spread like fire and caused confusion across the Internet. Some people thought it was a real report, others thought it was in poor taste, while some (including me) laughed it off and blogged about it. Still, a lot of people were hoodwinked by the Currant, which is similar to The Onion.

The fake article even duped Sweden's justice minister, Beatrice Ask, who, according to The Associated Press, posted it on her Facebook page and wrote: "Stupid and sad. My first bill in the youth wing was called Outfight the Drugs!"

My blog post peaked at 79 comments from readers who weren't quite sure what was going on or who or what to be mad at. 

Currant founder and editor Daniel Barkeley told New York's Daily News that it was the site's top-read article of all time. The piece was published Jan. 2, a day after Colorado allowed the purchase of recreational marijuana. As of Jan. 9, 1.4 million people "Liked" the satiric article.

True, it's in poor taste to say people died, and the article did take a jab at Denver's folded newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News. The article mentions a real hospital in Denver and quotes "Dr. Jack Shepard," who you might remember as a character on the TV show "Lost."

According to 7News in Denver, Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center issued a news release clarifying that no doctor by that name was on its payroll.

Take a bow, Currant. Well done.

Here is what else is happening on Colorado on the Web.

Colorado Springs, Denver and Fort Collins made the top 25 on a list many cities wouldn't want to be associated with. Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Census, Business Insider compiled a list, "The 25 Most Hungover Cities In America." Business Insider ranks Denver sixth, Fort Collins 14th and Colorado Springs 16th. Hey, Colorado Springs, we're better than this. Wait, are we? 

A Pueblo man named Anthony Salazar was driving around south of Colorado Springs during Saturday's snowstorm. While sitting in his vehicle on an Interstate 25 overpass, he took out his camera and filmed traffic. Boring, right? Not this time. Salazar captured a pileup in a video that is worth a look. Vehicles go into the ditch and others pile up on or along the highway, including a white van that skids a couple of hundred feet.

The video had about 11,000 views as of Wednesday. The multivehicle accident was near the Pikes Peak International Raceway, according to 7News. Watch the video here. Warning: There is some foul language.

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Have a Colorado on the Web idea? Send Dalton an email at dalton.walker@gazette.com or tweet @GazetteDalton.

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