Dec 282011

SANTA CRUZ — A soft drink laced with the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, a tsunami that swept through the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor and a woman arrested on suspicion of throwing a duck were just a few of the stories that captured online readers’ attention in 2011.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel website averages more than 400,000 unique visitors each month, and the top story of the year about Canna Cola was viewed more than 150,000 times since it appeared in January 2011, Stephen Baxter reports.

Canna Cola, a soft drink aimed at medical marijuana dispensaries, contains tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

The brand also looked to produce Dr. Pepper-like Doc Weed, lemon-lime Sour Diesel, grape-flavored Grape Ape and orange-flavored Orange Kush. A 12-ounce bottle costs $10 to $15.

“It’s got a mild marijuana taste. But the taste factor is really negligible compared to some competitors with three times the THC,” said Scott Riddell, founder of Diavolo Brands, which is marketing the product.

The Associated Press and websites such as the Huffington Post amplified the story, and it netted 150,374 page views since it appeared online on Jan. 23. The story received more than three times more page views than the next most popular story.

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