The concept of fake news has been in the press quite a bit lately as President Trump continues to accuse the vast majority of media sources, including legacy media outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN, of promoting unsubstantiated information using fictitious sources. This type of reporting heretofore had been referred to as “Yellow Dog Journalism,” and has been a part of the American lexicon for as far back as the nation’s founding. Mostly, it was used as a method of casting aspersions against political opponents.
So when TMZWorldNews reported late last year that the well-known cigarette brand Newport would be introducing a cannabis-laced cigarette, stoners who also smoke tobacco were overjoyed and blissful with anticipation.
How Did the Story Get Started?
The piece first began appearing in November of 2016 alleging that the Reynolds Co. would soon launch weed cigarettes. It even included what sounded like a direct quote from a high-level company executive who was reported to have said, “The company has been ecstatic on the idea of marketing cannabis, and has been monitoring the market for some time. It was only when the recent legalization initiatives, winning in Colorado and Washington, that the company finally made the decision to take part in the cannabis market. The source went on to assert that Reynolds had purchased thousands of acres of land to grow natural hemp. The tobacco company has been setting up a distribution process across North and South American territories, to streamline the supply lines.”
The Straight Dope
The stories and the quotes are a hoax. As it turns out, TMZWorldNews is a bogus site offering news and information assuming that the public would associate it with the more popular gossip site TMZ, thereby lending credibility to their unique style of sensationalistic reporting.
There is no shortage of coverage focused on the burgeoning marijuana industry. As pot continues to gain wider acceptance in society, the amount of spurious articles targeting the cannabis community will undoubtedly grow.
Allegedly, the new product would be sold under the name Newport Nirvana and would be available through licensed dispensaries throughout the states that have already approved marijuana for both medical and recreational consumption. The piece went as far as suggesting that well-known cannabis consumers like Snoop Dogg would be endorsing the product and a marketing blitz complete with a $7 billion budget would help to catapult the product into the mainstream.
A Trending Lie
The Reynolds Co. is not the only big tobacco firm that has been reported to be getting into the marijuana business. Not long ago, a piece surfaced claiming that Philip Morris would be unveiling its own version of pot cigarettes under the name Marlboro M. These reports are also untrue. While the marijuana market will likely continue to be lucrative for growers, retailers, and product suppliers, there has been zero indication that big tobacco is ready to make any moves into the cannabis market.
Congress on Cannabis
Last month, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced a bill in congress that would end the prohibition of marijuana nationwide. Although the bill looks like it will eventually go up in smoke, the conversations at the federal level are beginning to happen. With the marijuana industry forecasted to rake in tens of billions of dollars annually within the next few years, don’t be surprised if companies like Reynolds and Philip Morris look to get in on the action and create a totally new revenue stream and customer base. While neither of the stories run in TMZWorldNews is true, they may serve as a precursor to not only big tobacco, but any assortment of global players, entering the cannabis market.
Stay Skeptical, My Friends
Marijuana consumers must be mindful that misinformation is a common occurrence on the internet and that information should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism until it is proven to be authentic.
Article by: Alfonzo Porter