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Thursday, August 2, 2012

LA Times Fooled by Fake Press Release; Pro-Marijuana Groups Claim Responsibility

Posted By on Thu, Aug 2, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Not this war
  • Not this war

If only the War on Drugs had extended to all drugs -- including the makers of Viagra, Xanax, and whatever other pills people pop these days.

Many a pro-marijuana, anti-prohibition argument abide by this script. And on Tuesday, so did several news agencies who reported on a press release purportedly sent from U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy's Office in San Diego.

Duffy, the release announced, would be forthwith closing down pharmacies and other dispensers of USDA-approved drugs because of "high rates of pharmaceutical drug abuse and high property values of targeted pharmacies."

Only a few hours passed before the press release was revealed to be a hoax. Several news agencies, including the Los Angeles Times, fell victim to the prank, according to the North County Times.

Now several different drug war opponents are claiming the credit.

Both the San Diego chapter of Americans For Safe Access, a medical marijuana users' advocacy group, and another group calling itself the Federal Accountability Coalition claimed to be behind the hoax press releases.

ASA says it targeted Duffy because of her role in the federal Justice Department's ongoing crackdown on state-legal medical marijuana. The press releases were "satirical," and were created with help from LGBT activism group Canvass for a Cause, as well the Yes Men's "Yes Labs" project, according to ASA.

The patriots behind the Federal Accountability Coalition gasped at the nearly $30 million in asset forfeiture seizures Duffy conducted in 2011, and compare her to infamous American traitor Benedict Arnold. Duffy is an appointed official whom nobody likes, FAC writes, and she's conducting an all-out war on state-legal medical marijuana out of pure pique.

From where we sit, hunched over our ivory laptops, we're most impressed -- or perhaps disheartened -- over the media's willingness to swallow the story whole.

"Prosecutorial discretion means I decide how and when to enforce laws," the LA Times reported Duffy as saying in the faux news release.

Other media which attempted to contact Duffy's office to inquire about the pending War on Walgreens were as gullible.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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