Tell your friends: The rumor that tobacco giant Philip Morris has introduced a so-called “Marlboro M” brand of marijuana cigarettes? That’s not true.
It wasn’t true in 2014, when satirical news site Abril Uno started the rumor. It wasn’t true in 2015, when fake news hub Now8News.com published a similar report. And it’s not true now, no matter how many more people share links to stories like this Top Rated Viral garbage that says Marlboro’s cannabis smokes are already on sale in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Colorado. (Trust me, they’re not.)
This isn’t a new rumor. There are already a ton of articles out there debunking the Marlboro M hoax. But the story recently resurfaced, and it’s been trending on social media. Snopes, which tried to set the record straight as far back as January 2014, said this about how the falsehood came to be:
At least as far back as the 1960s, rumors have circulated that major tobacco companies were preparing to enter the marijuana cigarette market in anticipation of the imminent legalization of pot in the U.S., buying up marijuana fields in Mexico, designing new cigarette packages, and trademarking potential brand names such as “Panama Red” and “Acapulco Gold.” Such rumors were nothing more than the product of fanciful imagination and wishful thinking, but now that state of Colorado has legalized marijuana use, and more states are sure to follow, those claims no longer sound quite so far-fetched.
A similar hullaballoo reached a peak this year around Monsanto, which some sketchy sites have said is working on (or has already created) a genetically modified cannabis strain. The rumors were so pernicious, the company on April 19 posted a rebuttal on Twitter:
“Tomorrow is 4/20,” the tweet said. “FYI: Monsanto has not & is not working on GMO marijuana.”
Tomorrow is 4/20. FYI: Monsanto has not & is not working on GMO marijuana. We address other Monsanto myths here: https://t.co/tDdNsQTAO9
— Monsanto Company (@MonsantoCo) April 19, 2016
Could an agricultural or pharmaceutical colossus, the likes of Marlboro or Monsanto, one day crash into the cannabis market? Sure, although attorney Hilary Bricken has said it could be an uphill legal slog. Regulated cannabis is a multibillion-dollar market and growing, and it’s easy to imagine big business wanting a piece of that pie. For now, though, these are just rumors.
We at Leafly avoid reporting on fake news—we’re not interested in feeding the trolls—but sometimes it’s necessary to acknowledge a story in order to debunk it. Now go share this story and put the rumor to rest.