The latest fake news story to go viral claims that, due to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, Philip Morris has decided to start selling Marlboro Marijuana Cigarettes, marketed under the brand name “Marlboro M”.
The fake news story was posted on the satire site “Abril Uno” on January 21st. From the article
Phillip Morris, the world s biggest cigarette producer, announced today that they will join the marijuana legalization bandwagon and start producing marijuana cigarettes. Marketed under the brand Marlboro M , the cigarettes will be made available for sale through marijuana licensed outlets in the state of Colorado, and the state of Washington when it becomes commercially legal there later this year…
Since only tobacco products are currently banned in advertisements and promotions in the United States, Phillip Morris also has set aside a huge $15 billion advertising budget just to promote the new Marlboro M and are now negotiating with major networks and publishers, to start marketing the product to consumers in the beginning of 2015…
Phillip Morris shares hit an all time high on the marijuana news and shot up to $998.00 from $83.03 just a few hours after the announcement went public.
It seems like more and more fake news sites are popping up every day. For instance, Abril Uno (which is Spanish for April 1st, i.e. April Fool’s Day) only came into existence on January 14, according to the whois data. And less than two weeks later, they’ve already got a viral story.
On the subject of marijuana cigarettes, the Legends & Rumors site notes that back in the 1960s and early 70s a rumor circulated alleging that the big tobacco companies were eagerly anticipating the day when pot would be legal, and that many of them had already registered names for their planned marijuana cigarettes. In March 1971 tobacco company executives sent letters to Rolling Stone magazine denying these rumors.
Hoax: marlboro marijuana cigarettes do not exist – wafflesatnoon.com
A January 2014 article entitled “Phillip Morris Introduces Marlboro Marijuana Cigarettes” was posted on the website Abril Uno (“April First”), and received a high amount of social media sharing. This official sounding post reads, “Phillip Morris, the world s biggest cigarette producer, announced today that they will join the marijuana legalization bandwagon and start producing marijuana cigarettes. Marketed under the brand Marlboro M , the cigarettes will be made available for sale through marijuana licensed outlets in the state of Colorado, and the state of Washington when it becomes commercially legal there later this year.”
The disclaimer for that website, however, clearly describing itself as “a satire, parody and spoof web publication… All articles contained herein are fiction (“fake”), untrue, and for entertainment only.”
Many readers sharing the article were apparently unaware of its satirical origins.
With the popularity of the fake article above, some readers have also shared a story posted by FictioNews entitled, “Marlboro Making Medical Marijuana” which contains the image above. That article dates to April 20, 2011, and is also a work of fiction.
Note that we no longer link to viral satirical or bogus stories such as this, for this reason.
Speculation Philip Morris USA Statements
After the November 2012 elections, in which Colorado and Washington legalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, CBS News asked Philip Morris USA about the possibility of a marijuana based Marlboro cigarette. Spokesman Bill Phelps, while noting that they don’t comment or speculate “on future business” stated that “tobacco companies are in the business of manufacturing and marketing tobacco products.”
In January 2014, there had been no change in strategy announced by any big tobacco companies, as speculation continued regarding pot related products.
The Marlboro marijuana photos in circulation have been in existence long before Washington and Colorado voted to legalize marijuana. Back in 2009, this forum discussed “Marlboro Greens” which were rumored to exist in Amsterdam at the time. That turned out to be false. Another popular photo (above) was created as part of a photo editing contest. That photo, however, is often circulated with the Worth1000 logo cropped out, leading some readers to believe it is a real product.
Other photos have depicted “Marlboro Blend No. 420″ or “Marlboro Greens.” These have typically been created as a concept or as a joke.
We posted a short video rebuttal to this rumor, which you can watch below.
There are no Marlboro marijuana cigarettes. Rumors suggesting such a product have stemmed from satire, speculation, and fake photos.