Surprise, that dank nug photo blasted with a cherry Gingham filter can be used against you!
Usually, when you Instagram a photo of yourself exhaling a cumulonimbus cloud of marijuana smoke, you get what, like 43 likes?
Well, the U.S. government would like to remind you that in addition to that dank social validation, you could also be served with a juicy six-digit fine and jail time for your Instagrammed weed photos. If that seems gross and excessive, that's because it is!
Even in this day and age of legal-ish weed, Instagram users who post pictures of themselves smoking weed could be unknowingly getting themselves into a world of pain by violating Instagram's terms and conditions. Because of outdated marijuana legislation and sentencing that won't change until marijuana is legal nationwide, you can still get head-butted by the law in the same overzealous way people did before weed was legal anywhere.
See, Instagram guidelines still conform to federal standards when it comes to the posting of "unlawful" photos like (gasp) nipples or (larger gasp) marijuana. This means any photographic evidence of you using a federally illegal substance could be used as evidence against you in a court of law. If the DEA or the local police force so chooses, they're free to lurk your Instagram and use what they find there to take you down.
Of course, the consequences of doing this differ vastly depending on where you are. If you're in one of the four states that enjoy recreational weed or one of the 23 states with legalized medical marijuana, chances are your penis bong photo series isn't going to be law enforcement's top priority.
However, if you're in one of the caveman-like states where all marijuana is still 100 percent illegal, a photograph of you smoking weed documents a nice little possession felony. In Arizona, for example, that could land you a $150,000 fine and an 18-month jail sentence. Although, being in Arizona feels like an 18-month jail sentence on its own, so it might not really be that bad …
Nevermind that an Instagram photo of you incinerating legal weed into your lungs could also be interpreted as you doing your civic duty to fund schools and education, which is what a majority of marijuana sales tax goes towards in enlightened places like our home state of Colorado. If you ask us, we should all be getting god damn shiny plaques and medals for doing our part to help the children.
If all of this wasn't ass-backwards enough for you, the out-of-touch octogenarians at Fortune, who originally reported this story, would like to remind you that: "Being seen smoking marijuana on social media could have serious implications on both your professional and personal lives."
A quote from their article on the topic reads, “One minimizes their potential employment and earning capacity which may, in the end, affect their life … In addition, for instance: in a child custody battle, the pictures of anyone conducting any illegal activity or questionable moral turpitude could affect the outcome of custody.”
Lol. "Questionable moral turpitude?" That sounds more like a strain of Indica than a reason not to blaze on parade.
Nevertheless, Instagram users are posting weed pictures faster than the site can take them down, which is fantastic. So, if you do decide to inform your Instagram followers of your eminent dankness with a weed photo or ten, sleep soundly because chances are it'll disappear on its own before any DEA agents start casing your block. And if you do have to pay $150K for it, at least people will know you're chill.