Skip to comments.Annapolis police chief apologizes for citing hoax story in testimony against marijuana legalization
Posted on 02/26/2014 7:08:22 AM PST by Wolfie
Annapolis police chief apologizes for citing hoax story in testimony against marijuana legalization
Testifying against bills proposed to legalize and decriminalize marijuana in the state, Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop cited a hoax story that claimed 37 people had died the first day marijuana was legalized in Colorado.
"The first day of legalization, that's when Colorado experienced 37 deaths that day from overdose on marijuana," Pristoop testified at Tuesday's Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing. "I remember the first day it was decriminalized there were 37 deaths."
But Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, who has proposed a bill that would legalize, regulate and tax the drug, immediately fact-checked Pristoop.
"Unless you have some other source for this, I'm afraid I've got to spoil the party here," Raskin said. "Your assertion that 37 people died of a marijuana overdose in Colorado was a hoax on the DailyCurrant and the Comedy Central website."
Indeed, Pristoop was apparently referring to a story by the satirical website DailyCurrant.com, which reportedly fooled some people with the headline "Marijuana overdoses kill 37 in Colorado on first day of legalization." Pristoop backtracked after Raskin spoke.
"If it was a misquote, then I'll stand behind the mistake," Pristoop said. "But I'm holding on to information I was provided."
Reached by phone after he testified, Pristoop apologized. "After conducting additional research, it appears that was not accurate at all," Pristoop said. I believed at the time that was accurate.
"But I don't think it takes away from the other facts we presented ... I'm guilty of being a human being. I tried really hard to present verified facts.
Pristoop later explained himself in a statement posted on the Annapolis Police Department's Facebook page. Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides said he remains confident in Pristoop, whom he believed erred in his testimony. Pantelides said he had not heard the police chief's remarks before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and would call Pristoop in the morning for more information.
One of Pristoop's main responsibilities as chief is attempting to stem heroin use in Annapolis, the mayor said.
Six fatal heroin overdoses were reported by Annapolis police in 2013, up from two in 2012. Anne Arundel County police have also cracked down in recent weeks on heroin possession in Annapolis-area hotel rooms. Pristoop's focus on heroin enforcement may have influenced his comments in front of the Maryland General Assembly, Pantelides said.
"Clearly when you're constantly dealing with a drug where people overdose, it's probably in your head to think 'overdoses, drugs,'" he said. "Again, it could have just been a slip of he said something he shouldn't have." The city has no plans to change its enforcement of marijuana laws, Pantelides said.
Alderman Fred Paone, a member of the Annapolis City Council's Public Safety Committee, said he had not read the hoax article or Pristoop's comments, but believed the police chief's remarks were likely "a good-faith mistake."
"The guy is doing his job and, frankly, you get kind of intense when you're in the middle of something," Paone, R-Ward 2, said.
Pristoop was named chief of the Annapolis Police Department in 2008. He makes $147,515.
The story Pristoop cited quoted a fake "Dr. Jack Shepard," claiming he was "chief of surgery at St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver."
"It's complete chaos here," the fake doctor ranted. "I've put five college students in body bags since breakfast and more are arriving every minute." While lawmakers differed on whether the state's marijuana laws should be loosened, most agreed Tuesday that overdoses weren't an issue.
"The only person I've ever seen overdose on marijuana had a big snack and fell asleep," said Sen. Nancy Jacobs, R-Harford.
No, you did not.
Sounds like something someone high on pot would say.
cops lie all the time, they wouldn’t know the truth if it bit them in the ass
Well, if this is true, it's alarming. I've never heard of anybody dying from an overdose of marijuana before. If they had 37 deaths (the first I've ever heard about) in one day, can you imagine how many people are dying every day from this menace?
No wonder the population of places like Mexico and Jamaica are going extinct!
Nice try, Chief Pristoop.
Maryland is a huge dump - passing in school now lowered to a score of 50 and now drugs in the system.
It is really going to suck.
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You must get your facts from the same sources as Police Chief Dumbass. In fact: The birth rate per thousand people in both Jamaica and Mexico far exceeds the birthrate in the United States; the death rate in these countries is not only lower than in the United States, but significantly lower than the birth rate; and the life expectancy at birth in Jamaica and Mexico is only slightly lower than in the United States. In short, the populations of these countries are not "going extinct," but growing larger.
The drug warriors will say or do anything to keep the ‘war-on-drugs’ gravy train going. Lot’s of DEA and police dept revenue at stake here.
Wow, he earns about $147K too much for his level of competence.
"Seared into my memory..."
His comment was made tongue in check. The poster assumes a person knows those populations aren’t going extinct.
Nice try, Chief Pristoop.
Sorry guys, I wasn't being serious, I figured that part about Mexico and Jamaica going extinct would tip you off to that. I guess sometimes sarcasm should be more obvious.
Read it again, you might catch it this time.
I assumed so at first, but one really can’t be sure without the “sarcasm tag.”
See post 16. My apologies.
LOL... no problem. If I’d said that to you in person, you’d probably have laughed at it, but that doesn’t always translate well into Internet-speak.
Pueblo County first Colorado county to report marijuana taxes
February 25, 2014
DENVER A southern Colorado county with two recreational marijuana stores has become the first in the state to announce tax totals from the new industry.
Pueblo County finance authorities announced Monday that its two shops had about $1 million in total sales in January, producing about $56,000 in local sales taxes.
Pueblo County has a population 160,000.
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