(Andy Cross, Denver Post file)

Viral story satire: No getting out of jail for free

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s office has received 10 calls and six-eight emails about a satirical online article that went viral this weekend.

Yes, there are still those who believe everything they read on the Internet.

The same people who bought The Daily Currant’s “Marijuana overdoses kill 37 in Colorado on first day of legalization” article that freaked out your social media feed on Jan. 2 are currently posting a new Colorado-centric marijuana article to their Facebooks and Twitters — this one claiming that Hickenlooper is proposing legislation that would free convicts serving time on marijuana crimes and expunge the charges from their records.

The National Report’s parody story — “Colorado Governor Set To Release Those Convicted On Marijuana Related Charges, Expunge Records” — is still all over social media, with the majority of posters buying the fake news as legitimate. The website included Hickenlooper’s contact information at the bottom of the story.

Related: Allow us to legitimately answer your questions about Colorado marijuana in this exhaustive pot FAQ

Most of the calls and emails to the governor’s office came from out of state, Matt Hastings, who serves on the governor’s constituent services team, told The Cannabist on Monday

“I told them I’d be happy to pass any questions on marijuana policy along to the governor, but that’s a satire website, so you can be on the lookout for that – and we don’t have any plans to (propose that kind of legislation),” said Hastings. “One of the guys from Texas called, and I told him it was a satire, and he said, ‘Whaaaat? No way! Really?’ ”

A quick look at National Report’s site shows their disclaimer, which begins: “National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news.”