Marijuana Overdose in Colorado Satire Tricks Many into Thinking 37 People Died

January 7, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

An article from a satire website the Daily Currant saying “Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization” was shared more than a million times on Facebook, with many believing it was real.

“According to a report in the Rocky Mountain News, 37 people were killed across the state on Jan. 1, the first day the drug became legal for all adults to purchase. Several more are clinging onto life in local emergency rooms and are not expected to survive,” it reads.

In its disclaimer, the Daily Currant said that “our stories are purely fictional. However they are meant to address real-world issues through satire and often refer and link to real events happening in the world.”

But numerous people thought it was real, apparently including Sweden’s justice minister.

“Apparently 35 people died from marijuana overdoses in Colorado on the first day of legalization,” wrote one person.

Another added: “Be careful what laws you vote for.”

Many were quick to point out the article was from a satire publication.

“I’ve seen 5 people post this link … going haywire because they think someone is legitimately reporting it,” said another.

Here’s an AP update:

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden’s justice minister is facing ridicule for posting a spoof article about marijuana-linked deaths on her Facebook page along with comments about her zero-tolerance against drugs.

Beatrice Ask of Sweden’s ruling Conservative Party linked to the Daily Currant’s satire article, which claimed (falsely) that marijuana overdoses killed 37 people in Colorado on the first day of legalization.

Above the link she wrote: “Stupid and sad. My first bill in the youth wing was called Outfight the Drugs! In this matter I haven’t changed opinion at all.”

The comment quickly spread in social media, triggering widespread criticism.

Ask’s press officer Per Clareus said Tuesday the minister was aware the article was fake and was trying to criticize the website for joking about such a serious matter, but was misunderstood.