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False Alarm: There Was Never THC In Colorado Town’s Water

THC in the water in Colorado
Photo by Eren Eriş


False Alarm: There Was Never THC In Colorado Town’s Water

Officials now say the initial test was a false positive but did not specify what method they used or at what threshold they supposedly discovered the false THC.

Last week, public officials in Hugo, Colorado — a rural hamlet of 730 souls in Lincoln County, about two hours’ drive southwest from the skyscrapers and cannabis dispensaries of Denver — set off a firestorm with the announcement that the town’s drinking water was tainted with THC.

Following complaints, “multiple tests” of a local well had turned up a “presumptive positive” for THC, according to authorities with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department.

They didn’t say who, they didn’t say how, and they didn’t say why. (They especially did not explain how THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis and a compound soluble only in fat, somehow managed to bond with water for the first time ever.)

And there had been exactly zero cases of local residents reporting strange sensations after having a glass of water.

But Lincoln County sheriff’s deputies were quick to react: Don’t drink the water. Don’t even shower in the water!

As international media picked up on the story and cannabis experts scratched their collective heads — and as rational scientists openly questioned how an amount of THC significant enough to cause any kind of adverse reaction could somehow find its way into the water supply — local authorities started importing bottled water for thirsty residents.

Scientists from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation were called in to test the water for themselves. By Saturday morning — day 3 of Hugo’s Reefer Madness episode — tests came back negative. As in entirely negative.

“Based upon the conclusive results now known to us, it is believed there never was THC in the water system,” officials tweeted.

Did you fall for the hoax?

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