Reefer Madness Strikes Again: Cbs News Claims Child Overdoses On Pot: Fact Checking In An Age Of Fake News

At a time when the term “fake news” is used to diminish the legitimacy of media outlets, it is imperative that facts are checked, then checked once more for good measure. Faith in credible journalism depends on it.

On the 14th of May, CBS New York published an article that claimed a 10-year-old boy had overdosed on cannabis-infused candy. The title alone is a prime example of erroneous and lazy journalism; a clickbait title meant to boost ratings, without concern for the facts. But this is not where the faulty journalism ends. In their report, CBS claimed that “the boy ingested at least one piece of the candy containing 250mg or more of THC.” The bag pictured in their article, however, clearly states that the bag contains 10 individually-wrapped pieces that contain 25mg of THC each. That is 250mg per bag, not per piece.

Not only did the child not overdose (there are zero reports of anyone ever overdosing on cannabis), he consumed far less cannabis than reported, and was released from the hospital the same day. Although feeling a little sick to his stomach, according to Lieutenant Mark Emma, the child returned home.

This does bring up a very serious issue, however. The fact that these cannabis-infused candies were left unsupervised, and within reach of a child, is a huge transgression and cannot be overlooked. There are many parents who utilize cannabis medicinally, but doing so with care and consciousness is key.

Since the cannabis community has blossomed, there have been many solution-based companies aiming to solve the issue of accidental consumption by minors. Just as many would feel safer with their guns in a safe, lockboxes have become a source of relief for parents who partake in cannabis use. This is a story that could have been easily avoided by taking the proper precautions. The father in this case is now learning the hard way; he is not only guilt-ridden, but now faces charges of endangering the welfare of a child.

Solution-based reporting, rather than scare tactics, are necessary now—perhaps more than ever. Our country is divided and confused about where they can find honest journalism. We hope that in the future CBS New York will take that into consideration.