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A Donut Shop That Sells Cannabis? These Hoaxes Are Too Good to Be True

We hate to break it to you, but if last week's headlines got you excited about picking up marijuana Timbits at your local Tim Hortons, then you've been had by a hoax. On Canada Day (July 1), The Global Sun satirical news site claimed that the iconic chain of Canadian coffee shops would begin start selling marijuana products in 2017.

The fake article quotes "Ron Joyce" - described as the "current founder of Tim Hortons" - saying that the shops wanted to help normalize marijuana use in Canada by expanding into the lucrative cannabis industry.

"We are a very big corporation and always open to new ideas, not only benefit the franchise, but also to benefit the economy and the consumers. There are currently over 3,000 Tim Hortons stores across the nation and serving marijuana in our stores, I feel is a necessity to support the legalization of it."

The story was quickly debunked by Dan Evon of Snopes, who wrote, "Tim Hortons has not announced any plans to sell marijuana. The story was nothing but a work of fiction from an entertainment web site."

Canada is working toward legalizing recreational marijuana use, but so far liquor stores, pharmacies and private dispensaries are the only kinds of businesses that have been seriously considered as retail outlets for the new industry.

If you got taken in by the fake story, don't feel bad. There have been a lot of cannabis hoaxes recently. Here are some highlights over the last year.

1. Mile High Stadium gets higher

Inside Mile High Stadium during a Denver Broncos gameJoseph Sohm /

Wishful thinking likely led a lot of cannabis enthusiasts and football fans getting hoodwinked by an April Fool's prank staged by Native Roots - a Denver-based dispensary. Last spring, they set up an elaborate campaign to trick people into believing that they were bidding on the naming rights to Mile High Stadium - home of the NFL's Denver Broncos. The company even said they would look into starting a cannabis concession stand that would sell joints and vaporizers to patrons 21 or older.

"It makes for a great April Fools' laugh, but if we could get this done, we'd do it in a heartbeat," Native Roots co-owner Rhett Jordan told The Cannabist.

But reality soon imitated the artful prank. Last May, O.penVAPE - a manufacturer of vapes including go.pen Plus and Helix Vape Pen - announced that it was putting in a bid for Mile High's naming rights. And to prove they're serious, they released a video mockup of what O.penVAPE at Mile High would look like.

2. Commander-in-Leaf

Former President Jimmy CarterNir Levy /

Cannabis helps many patients deal with epilepsy, Crohn's and the effects of cancer treatment. But it didn't kill former President Jimmy Carter's brain cancer cells. That story appeared on the satirical news site Satira Tribune in December 2015. The webpage doesn't explicitly state that it's a fake news source. But the name - which is latin for "satire" - says it all.

Another, less-subtle hint for the reader was Satira's quote from Carter. "I smoke two joints in the morning, I smoke two joints at night, I smoke two joints in the afternoon, and it makes me feel all right," the 39th president allegedly said.

According to Dan Evon at Snopes, Jimmy Carter did announce that he was "cancer-free" last December, but he didn't say anything about using medical marijuana.

3. Biker labor union

These riders are actually protesting police bias against motorcycle riders in Oslo, Norway.Uncleroo /

There's no doubt that people profiting off Canada's marijuana black market are unhappy with Justin Trudeau. Canada's prime minister has vowed to put street dealers and gangs out of business by legalizing recreational marijuana use. But would a group like the Hell's Angels actually mobilize to protest legalization? Not likely, but thousands of Facebook users bought the bogus tale of bikers fighting for their job security in October 2015.

The story seems to originate from the World News Daily Report, a supposed news site that has also published articles on an activist spending a year in a freezer to protest global warming, and another about a hairy man killed by hunters who believed he was a sasquatch.

4. Quarter pounder with an ounce on the side

The greenery in this photo of a fast food burger is actually

Imagine a McDonald's PlayPlace for stoners. People began chattering about that concept last October when rumors spread that the iconic fast-food chain's Colorado locations would convert their indoor playgrounds into smoke lounges - complete with ventilated smoking pods that would trap the smoke.

But getting fried while eating fries was just another pipe dream. The story originated from an article published last fall by the "for entertainment only" parody news site Other stories from the site include "Man Openly Masturbates with Pie in Walmart Bakery" and "New Penis Implant Will Alert Your Cell Phone when Your Man Is Cheating" (presumably with humans as well as pies).

Banner Image: A Tim Hortons coffee mug and donut. (Pere Rubi /


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