Marijuana and Social Media - Be Cautious, even if you live in states where recreational marijuana is legal.
Social media is NOT private. You can privatize your security settings to screen out most people but occasionally someone is going to “accidentally” or “coincidentally” see you and if you are trying to hide something—you are generally going to fail. This is extremely true for those with jobs in the marijuana industry or looking for medical marijuana employment. I really wanted to talk to you about two different cases, both equally horrible if you are the subject of the story. Case one: A group of twenty-something year old friends love to hang out, post selfies and use hash tags just like most twenty-something year olds. This group, however, really loved to post photos of marijuana plants. Their marijuana plants and the harvested buds and them smoking and dabbing - you get the picture, right? Now, to set the scenario properly, you should know this group lives in a state where it’s absolutely not legal medicinally and it for sure is not legal recreationally but they were kids, they didn’t care. Until they day they had to care-more than they ever imagined they would. Seems the hash tag they used in their photos was the name of the weed they were producing and selling. Now, was this a huge grow? Nope, just enough to help these kids make some extra money-maybe pay their rent. Nothing that was making them rich but a few of those bags ended up in the hands of some teenagers and local enforcement, having nothing better to do apparently, started an investigation. It appears that the police in this moderate-size city knew how to use the internet and it didn’t take long for them to set up a sting in conjunction with the local DEA office. They arrested the two young adults that lived in the house and confiscated their entire marijuana grow-plants, lights, scales, cash and anything else they could find. What they didn’t take, they smashed. They trashed the grow room, they trashed the entire house and really tried to scare the hell out of these kids—trying to get them to turn other people over or give up other sources to help them get their own charges reduced. This was a first time offense for both of them, yet it took almost three years for them to get through it, two years of probation (which means no more marijuana as you will now be peeing in a cup) and almost $10,000 in legal fees. These two now have are now “registered felons” and while the state they live in, now has a medical marijuana program, they will never be allowed to work in the medical marijuana industry legally because they won’t pass a background check. Case two: We know a wonderful couple that resides in Colorado. The husband is a dispensary manager for one of the bigger cannabis companies in the Denver area and the wife works for the Federal Government. They have been living life this way for the past five years. I get a phone call a couple weeks ago from my friend telling me that her boss just called her into his office and all but fired her because her husband is employed in a medical marijuana dispensary. Now my friend is a very intelligent woman and knows her rights and spent two hours trying to talk the boss down from his high horse-explaining that her husband is a legal patient and a legal employee (with a state verified work card) and that what he does or does not do, should have no bearing on her ability to do her job. She explained that her husband had been working full time for five years now and that it had never affected her job or abilities in any way. She did ask, however, how he found out and his answer was simple-social media. The boss and my friend were Facebook friends and when her husband posted something on her page about cannabis, the boss saw it and his personal “snooping session” began. If she didn’t have a mortgage to pay and carry the burden of health insurance with this job, she would have not-so-politely told the boss where to go and how he could get there—but responsibilities kicked in and she instead had to deal with the berating she took and the condescending attitude he now treats her with because of his close-mindedness while she desperately searches for a new job after working for the same place for the last eight years. Fair? Not at all! We all think our business is private and that we can say and do what we want on “our” own pages but be aware that someone is always watching, someone can always see and someone just might be affected by it. If you are in a position or have someone close to you in a position that your posts could be detrimental to their current ability to earn a living, please think twice before hitting “post”. You may want to refrain from recording your bong hits and sharing them—or sharing how many dabs you just did - even if you think only your friends can see the post. There are still taboos, the federal prohibition and close-minded people out there, who happen to be in positions of authority and can affect someone’s current and future career. Please keep in mind marijuana is still federally illegal and, by recent polls, is still only socially accepted by a little over half the people in America.