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Pristoop, in testimony regarding legalization of marijuana, stated that overdoses on marijuana led to more than 30 deaths on the first day the drug was legalized in Colorado. That data was based upon a hoax story that ran on satirical and comedy websites.
“I apologize for the information I provided concerning the deaths. I believed the information I obtained was accurate but I now know the story is nothing more than an urban legend,” the chief said in a statement. “This does not take away from the other facts presented in opposition to legalization or the good work of the Maryland Chiefs and Maryland Sheriffs associations.”
Pristoop was speaking before the Maryland Senate Judiciary Committee, opposing the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, according to the statement from Annapolis police. His testimony was stopped by those on the committee who recognized the error.
According to the statement from the police department, Pristoop discovered the data was “an urban myth” while following up on the report after the meeting.
During the testimony Tuesday, police chiefs, sheriffs and states attorneys said loosening marijuana laws in Maryland would undermine drug enforcement — though they said their opposition did not extend to making medical marijuana more readily available to those who need it.
Reporter Erin Cox contributed to this story.