Cannabis plant seedlings.

Costco Plans to Start Selling Bulk Marijuana?

Not long after Washington state voted to legalize sale and use of recreational marijuana, an exciting rumor for lovers of both cannabis and bulk discounts appeared.

According to a 2015 story in the now-defunct, Washington-area Costco stores would sell “bulk high grade marijuana” under its Kirkland Signature store brand:

The marijuana will be exclusively purchased from the Suquamish Tribe, which is currently awaiting federal approval to begin production on. 

Tribal gaming commissioners met with Costco executives more than 3 months ago to work on a tentative deal.

Kirkland signature hopes to add marijuana to its laundry list of goods including baby clothes, shampoo and dad shoes by the end of June.

A hoax news website is behind this particular hoax. The Kitsap Report was an openly satirical page that described itself as follows:

Founded in 2013, we are dedicated to providing the members of Kitsap County with up to date mostly factual information.

A 2014 interview with its creator in the Kitsap Sun (a non-satirical news organization under the USA Today umbrella) offered a taste of the confusion that was to come in a year or two:

The recipe for cooking up fake news stories in Kitsap County is simple, Calvin Courter says. Look for a trending topic on the Internet, find a way to give it a local twist, and sit back and watch it spread around the Internet like wildfire.

“We just wanted to provide a funny source of news,” said Courter, a 29-year-old Poulsbo resident who founded The Kitsap Report, a satirical news web site. “We wanted to lighten the mood around here.”

The Report, which boasts itself as being “Kitsap’s #1 source for news” has produced such eyeball-grabbing headlines as “Naughty Drive-through Marijuana Store Opening in Gorst,” “Bridge from Bainbridge to West Seattle Approved,” and “Walking Dead Season 5 to be Filmed in West Bremerton,” in its initial weeks of publication. (Blogger’s note: not all content posted on the site is family friendly.)

Because this is the Internet, where all content is accurate until proven phony, here is your official SPOILER ALERT: None of those stories are true. (No, really. They’re not.)

Courter said he’s not surprised that readers have mistaken his headlines for the real thing (he’s even heard from a Seattle-based reporter who thought they were legit). He said he hadn’t meant to trick people, but rather to spice things up.

Some readers who commented on the story correctly noted that Washington state law limits legal possession of marijuana, which would make bulk sales and purchase by individuals illegal.