A story which went viral on the Web today — indicating that Sweden had bravely forged ahead of its Scandinavian neighbors and legalized cannabis — appears to be a hoax.
One story on JustPaste.It, headlined “Sweden legalizes and regulates cannabis,” created a bit of a stir (and a storm of page hits) on social media networks.
However, the story, which linked to no confirming sources and listed as its source “420 Dagbladet, Stockholm, December 19, 2011,” could not be confirmed anywhere else and seems to have no validity.
“420 Dagbladet,” which would mean “420 Daily Newspaper,” doesn’t even appear to exist, either as a website or as a print publication.
Users in the “Sensationalist Headlines” section on the forums of the site FacePunch weren’t fooled for long, and the member who posted the item appeared to have been banned from the site as a result.
The story quickly went viral on the cannabis oriented “Trees” section of social media news sharing site Reddit, but as its shakiness and lack of verification became obvious, users voted the story down in almost equal numbers to the up votes. As of 5:32 p.m. Pacific time on Monday, the submission had logged 1,238 up votes and 1,074 down votes, for a net score of 164. (Yeah, I was one of those down votes.)
“I am sorry but what the fuck? I live in central Stockholm and I haven’t heard shit about this?” commented one Reddit user. “I haven’t even heard if there’s a discussion about legalizing it. Looking at the top 5 Swedish newspapers’ websites I see nothing but Saab and Kim Jong-Il. I’d be happy if someone proved me wrong but there’s no doubt in my mind that these facts are wrong.”