Social Media’s War on Cannabis

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We live in a society that is becoming increasingly more attached to electronics, computers and being “in touch” all the time, but has it put us out of touch with reality?

As a person in my mid 30’s, I have been using the Internet since the 1990s, back when people would use Internet Relay Chat (IRC) in the high school library to talk to one of maybe three friends who had just gone home. We would send each other links to interesting topics, and play text based role playing games (yes…I am proudly a nerd), but we didn’t use our real names online.

I didn’t use my real name online until I created my second MySpace account. I had to separate my “real life” friends from my entertainment pals, as the stuff I posted was driving RLF (real life friends) crazy — since I had thousands of friends. And though it seemed to me that I barely posted, their entire feeds were full of my nonsense. 

I figured, what was the harm? Make a private profile, put my real name on it, so they know its me… that was the beginning of the end of my privacy. Within a year, people from the entertainment industry part of my life knew my real name, where I was from, and what I did for a living. I got followed. I even got paparazzi’d once, since they knew I’d be coming through a certain station.

Now, imagine you work in the cannabis industry, and these aren’t fans watching — they’re the police. Do you think it’s hard to find out who you are, where you live and how to entrap you? THINK AGAIN!

Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms are designed to collect information on you to sell to advertisers, however, this also gives law enforcement and government agencies a great profile on who you are, where you go, who you spend time with, etc.

You might live in a state with some level of “legalization,” whether it be recreational or medical. You may see no harm in posting your buds, your shatter slab, your new heady piece, but, are you also putting yourself in danger of getting busted? According to Huffington Post, in 2014, a person was arrested for weed every 51 seconds.

Thus, the terms of Instagram and Facebook are similarly worded:


“We prohibit any attempts by unauthorized dealers to purchase, sell, or trade prescription drugs and marijuana. …


“Photos and videos containing drug use, graphic content or nudity are not allowed on Facebook. We also don’t allow photos or videos that glorify violence or attack an individual or group.”


“Follow the law… Instagram is not a place to support or praise terrorism, organized crime, or hate groups. Offering sexual services, buying or selling illegal or prescription drugs (even if it’s legal in your region), as well as promoting recreational drug use is also not allowed.”

So, as you can see, both of these social media platforms, which I use frequently, as they are the most popular networks that are owned by Facebook, have led to people getting arrested or deleted because of what is posted. 

A few examples? This kid from NJ who wanted to show off his plants; another woman raising money for her legal defense; Coral Reefer getting her Instagram deleted in January and again recently; and just last week, this article came out about Baked Bros., a legitimate medical marijuana company in Arizona. 

How can we protect ourselves? Well first, we should all be doing something about working towards legalizing the plant we all love so much. Another thing is you need to make the personal decision on whether or not it’s smart to post photos of marijuana — based on where you live and your states laws. But, if you are like me, and like to “Free the Plant” across the ‘net, remember you may get your account banned at some point.

If you are in the industry, honestly, it’s a scary time. In California, Operation Shattered Dreams is working with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to arrest extract company employees, even those producing products in a safe, lab-certified manner, out of fear of the few who have done it wrong; instead of educating producers, they are arresting them, and these people who are providing medical cannabis are facing a decade or more of state prison time. I’ll go deeper into this in another article, since it honestly seems I am hearing about more arrests every week, and most of the initiatives for legalization outlaw extracts completely.

One last thing before I go. Do you see all of these posts that say “Tag your friends” on some kind of weed post? Unless you know they are explicitly okay with it, just don’t. And NEVER “Tag your friend who grows,” or talk about it on social media; let them do it if they wish. If you are tagging them, you are doing what is called “dry snitching” and no one likes a snitch. Even if it is unintentional. Because what’s put on the Internet stays on the Internet, whether you delete it or not. Remember that.


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Author: Beth

Beth is a cannabis writer for HMJ as well as co-host of "Fired Up" by HMJ with Lenny G, and Duney Kush, every Thurs from 3-5PM PST on She is a prop 215 MMJ patient, living in the Los Angeles area.

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