If you like blazing up every now and then, make sure you don’t post it on Instagram. Since marijuana use is still federally recognized as illegal in the United States, posting a picture with that Mary Jane could mean you wind up with a serious fine or even some significant jail time.
Social media strategist Shannon Self says that an Instagram post with someone smoking marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $150,000 or 18 months of jail time. That’s especially true in many states that still have laws in place banning marijuana either medically or recreationally.
“Even though 23 states have legalized medical marijuana and four states have legalized recreational marijuana, marijuana remains illegal federally,” Patricia D’Orsa-Dijamco, retired Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, told Digital Trends.
You might be thinking that’s a very harsh punishment for something that is fairly easy to come across on Instagram. In fact, the hashtag #weedstagram420 has over 1.8 million posts. Even searching for something less targetted like just “weed” won’t take long before your screen is engulfed in cannabis and smoke. Plenty of celebrities, rappers in particular, don’t shy away from giving weed some free promotion here and there either.
Technically, Instagram does ban illegal content in the app, but doesn’t seem to do anything about all the ganja. But the former DEA agent still strongly advises against the posts.
“People who post pictures of themselves [smoking pot] could potentially face criminal charges,” said D’Orsa-Dijamco very matter-of-factly.
Given all the posts about marijuana on Instagram already, it’s pretty unlikely the government is going to storm up to millions of citizen’s homes with a hefty fine. But maybe — at least until its inevitable legalization — stay on the down-low with your reefer.