May 24, 2022

Oy! An Example of Why Basic Info and Digital Literacy Skills are Important and Useful

If you’re ever in need of a good example of why it’s important to notice and consider the source of what you’re reading/hearing/viewing, to dig a bit deeper, to checking multiple sources, to use other basic info literacy skills, here’s one for your list.

In Maryland the police chief of Annapolis has apologized for inaccurate testimony he gave during a hearing of MD General Assembly’s Judicial Proceedings Committee about legalizing marijuana in the state.

What happened?

From The Baltimore Sun:

[Annapolis Police Chief Michael] 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.”

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.

From The Washington Post:

When he said it, everyone in the room dropped their laptops,” Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery) said in an e-mail.

According to The Post and DCist the story Pristoop was quoting came from The Daily Currant.

You can read the article here and look at other examples of the satire the site publishes.

All sources also include this statement from Pristoop:

“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,” Pristoop said. “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.”

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.