Jimmy Carter Cannabis Cancer Cure Claim is “Pants On Fire” Fake News

Article quotes the former president with lyrics from the song "Smoke 2 Joints"

Jimmy Carter Statue
Statue of President Jimmy Carter at the Georgia Statehouse

While “fake news” lately may be Donald Trump’s favorite reply to any factual story that paints him unfavorably, there is the actual problem of fake news that circulates through the social media feeds of people in their ideological echo chambers.

The cannabis community is no exception. Last month, MassRoots called out The Weed Blog and The Joint Blog for their republishing of stories like “Federal Study Will Pay You $3,000 Per Week to Consume Cannabis” and false reporting of comments by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and opinions of Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch regarding marijuana legalization.

Now, the respected fact-finding organization PolitiFact has jumped into the fray, designating as a “Pants-On-Fire” lie a popular Facebook post that claims former President Jimmy Carter cured his cancer by using medical cannabis.

In 2015, Carter was really diagnosed with skin cancer that had spread to his brain, but in December of that year announced the cancer’s growth had been arrested and reversed. Instead of medical marijuana, Carter announced he had been trying a new drug called Keytruda that appeared to help control and reverse the metastatic melanoma.

The fake story, meanwhile, appears to have originated from a Dec. 7, 2015, post on a site called SatiraTribune.com. There’s no disclaimer on the site, but their Facebook page notes that SatiraTribune publishes “satirical and futuristic news.”

The story is full of cliches about smoking marijuana, including Carter being forgetful and having the munchies for peanuts. … But perhaps the biggest giveaway is a faked quote from Carter that reads, “I smoke two joints in the morning, I smoke two joints at night, I smoke two joint in the afternoon, and it makes me feel all right.”

Fortunately, the top marijuana media sites recognized the lyrics from The Toyes’ 1983 song, “Smoke Two Joints,” and identified the post as satire. However, far too many marijuana aficionados didn’t get the joke or only read the headline. That post got passed around all throughout 2016 in the cybercannabisphere.

Well, the older editors of marijuana sites recognized it as The Toyes’ song. You, perhaps, are more familiar with Sublime’s 1992 cover version:

And maybe you Millennials are more familiar with Macy Gray’s 2012 cover:

Even though President Carter didn’t embrace cannabis as a cancer therapy, he has been a prominent figure in the history of legalization. He bravely campaigned in 1975 in favor of marijuana decriminalization and followed through on his promise by calling on Congress in 1977 “to end federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.”

Lately, President Carter has flip-flopped on legalization. In December of 2012, he was approving of the efforts Washington and Colorado had made in legalizing marijuana.

Q: What do you make of the legalization of marijuana and the states that have legalized marijuana?

CARTER: Well, I’m in favor of it. I think it’s OK. I don’t think it’s going to happen in Georgia yet, but I think we can watch and see what happens in the state of Washington, for instance, around Seattle, and let the American government and let the American people see, does it cause a serious problem or not?

But by 2013, President Carter was disapproving of marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado and praising the work of anti-legalization advocacy group Project SAM.

“I do not favor legalization. We must do everything we can to discourage marijuana use, as we do now with tobacco and excessive drinking,” President Carter told the crowd. “We have to prevent making marijuana smoking from becoming attractive to young people, which is, I’m sure, what the producers of marijuana … are going to try and do.”

“I hope that Colorado and Washington, as you authorize the use of marijuana, will set up very strict experiments to ascertain how we can avoid the use of marijuana,” Mr. Carter said. “There should be no advertising for marijuana in any circumstances and no driving under the influence. We need to avoid the use of marijuana, particularly among young people.”

“I’m very proud of Patrick Kennedy and his Project SAM, Smart Approaches to Marijuana,” the former president said. “I wish him and Kevin Sabet every success in your independent project to make sure marijuana is handled responsibly.”

Russ Belville
About Russ Belville 190 Articles
Russ Belville - or "Radical" Russ, as he is known on-air - hosts The Russ Belville Show - The Voice of the Marijuana Nation, a two-hour live news and talk radio program for the cannabis community, weekdays at 3pm Pacific on RadicalRuss.com (learn more on our Podcast page).  The show is based in Portland, Oregon, but "Radical" Russ has traveled over 300,000 air miles in the past five years, bringing his show to report live from hundreds of cannabis conferences, marijuana expos, hemp festivals, and legalization events in over 50 North American cities.