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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Stop Putting Marijuana Photos on Social Media

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 1:07 PM

click to enlarge Hello to police - INSTAGRAM/THEDABBINCAPTAIN
  • Instagram/thedabbincaptain
  • Hello to police

It didn't take long for reporters to catch up with John McAfee when the maverick software developer went into "hiding" last year. It also didn't take long for authorities to nab McAfee, following what is possibly the best-documented flight from justice in modern history: metadata from an iPhone photo snapped by VICE magazine's editor in chief told the world exactly where McAfee was, and when.

That was just fine for McAfee, whose relentless self-promotion wasn't the least bit hindered by his eventual expulsion from Guatemala, which he'd entered illegally. He's now in Portland when he's not pushing a new tech venture, and his ex-neighbor in Belize is still dead (cops there say they'd like to talk to him, someday; the dead man's neighbors will see McAfee in court for a civil suit).

This is worth remembering today because, as High Times reminds us, posting pictures to social media of your favorite grow or you and your friends lunging blunts or doing anything else illegal sends a message, to police: here I am, come get me.

A brief search on Instagram or other social media networks popular among kids these days reveals no shortage of our youth gleefully corrupting themselves with drugs and alcohol.

But unlike the fuzzy, washed-out-with-flash FunSaver photos from our college days, these party shots are accessible by millions of people, including police with nothing better to do.

High Times tells the story of a teenager in Louisiana who opened the door one day to see police, who arrested her for possession. How'd they know? They saw her posts on social media.

Examples in California aren't readily available, and it's far-fetched to think that anyone would be tracked down by SFPD for pulling tubes on a Tuesday night.

In this twilight of prohibition, with legalization so close we can smell it, it may feel like a righteous and rebellious act to bravely declaim to the world your embrace of the once-forbidden magic plant. And it may be. But it can also be a big risk.

In the wrong place, it can at the least get you fired. And even in the right place -- the pic we used was from a gentleman in Washington State, where pot is legal, but in California, nothing currently stops an employer firing you for marijuana use.

Of course, not everyone agrees with us. Social media stars like Coral Reefer proudly tell the world on a daily basis that they're high as shit. That's fine (mostly because what her tens of thousands of followers see is legal). If it's working out for you, don't stop on our account.

But there's no need to be a boastful dummy. Or if you insist on it, at least disable the geotagging on your favorite social media network.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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