The internet was set ablaze over the past few days following a report by Abril Uno that Phillip Morris, the largest producer of cigarettes in the world, would be dabbling marijuana.
The company would supposedly be releasing marijuana cigarettes, aptly titled Marlboro M. They would be made available for legal purchase through licensed outlets in the state of Colorado, where it is legal to buy and sell the drug.
There's just one little catch: The story is a hoax.
One major clue as to the joke should have been the name of the source. Abril Uno translates to "April 1st". Hmm, it looks like the best April Fools jokes don't happen in April at all.
Then there was a reference to Serafin Norcik, who was named in the article as the VP of Marketing for Philip Morris. In actuality, there is no Serafin Norcik.
According to the non-existent Norcik, Philip Morris had been in touch with major drug cartels, looking for them to mass produce marijuana for their cigarettes.
Adding fuel to the fire was a photoshopped image that some took to be a preview of the product.
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) January 26, 2014
If Marlboro is actually gonna start producing legit 'marijuana cigarettes' then I will start smoking weed again
— Gareth (@garethainslie) January 26, 2014
I'm kinda skeptical about the Marlboro marijuana cigarettes..
— Vince Eat World (@SirTightJeans) January 23, 2014
Could the cigarette giant eventually get into the marijuana racket? I wouldn't rule it out. The weed business is booming in Colorado (there have been shortages reported) and it could see other states follow suit and legalize the drug. There are already regulations in place regarding who can smoke and where, so it wouldn't be unfamiliar territory.
According to Snopes, Philip Morris and other cigarette companies have been preparing for the eventual legalization of the drug in the United States.
This particular joke may be on enthusiastic pot smokers for now, but there's no telling who'll have the last laugh. Should marijuana be legalized, it's very likely that drug dealers will have to face cut throat competition from big business.
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