- Alexander Bencore
False UK Headline About Synthetic Cannabis Circles the Globe
"Sex Sells", and "If It Bleeds, It Leads" are mantras in publishing, which is why headlines are often heavy on hype, with truth only served as a chaser. BUT when cannabis headlines are untrue they can fool readers, which washes back on all of us in the community. We need to start taking action.
I learned the craft of headline writing from talented folks, so I’d like to share options for a factual headline about a story that really happened on the 29th of March:
"Synthetic cannabis kills Nigerian law student"
"Candy laced with illicit synthetic cannabis proves fatal"
"Deadly edibles: synthetic cannabis candy kills young woman"
All these headlines are accurate and true descriptions of a tragedy that happened in London: Two young women friends, one American, one Nigerian, ordered a package of Trilly Peachy O’s, which were advertised as gummy candies, from a messaging app like Snapchat (police are investigating).
Both women ate one gummy, were immediately sickened and rushed to the hospital. The Nigerian woman, who was a 23-year-old law student and an only child of a single mother, tragically passed two days later. The friend survived and was released from the hospital. The man who provided the toxic gummies was arrested.
The story appeared in more than 50 news sources around the world. The product that the young women consumed has not been fully tested yet however ALL THE ARTICLES say the same thing in the text: the candy was made with synthetic cannabis.
BUT ALL THE HEADLINES SAY: “Woman dies in east London after eating ‘cannabis sweet’
Synthetic cannabis is sprayed with Who Knows What toxic chemicals and has killed dozens of people. This version in London was SO TOXIC that a single candy killed an adult.
I wish there were another name for this poison – like "Spice" – that everyone would use and stop calling it “cannabis” at all. But today, 50 sources around the world said that a cannabis sweet killed that woman. And the millions of people who read "scroll the headlines" might believe that cannabis is deadly.
THE LOOP BACK
We see this all the time and as members of the legal cannabis community, we need to proudly defend the truth and the honor of legal providers who work hard to provide safe products. If you click on the link, you can see the article author, Harry Taylor. He has links to Facebook, Twitter right below his name.
Let’s use those links and write Harry Taylor and set him straight:
FaceBook link to the Guardian article: https://bit.ly/37DXD2m
Twitter link to the Guardian article: https://bit.ly/3xlbDZU
(I'm not bashing Harry personally ... I realize that chances are another person in his publication wrote the headline, as often happens, and subsequent sources just copy-and-pasted)
THE LAST WORD
Responsibly and professionally made gummies are good and SAFE for patients and enjoyed by adults. Hopefully subsequent articles will be accurate and truthful and let people know how hard we work, how disciplined we are in providing safe, healthy, real cannabis edibles, as opposed to fake, adulturated and potentially fatal, synthetic cannabis candies.
In this way, we can all work to stop the stigma, one writer at a time.
IMAGE SOURCE: Photo by Pixabay from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/food-red-yellow-colorful-55825