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Instagram Hashtags Help Aussie Police Crack Down On Marijuana

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Police are cracking down on illegal grow-ops and marijuana possession in Australia right now, thanks in part to the help of snap-happy potheads who flag their Instagram photos with tags like #aussiestoners #weedstagram and #oznugs.


A Victoria Police spokesman warned this week that “online dopes” would be tracked and prosecuted through photo-sharing websites, and would face hefty penalties if caught.



"Anyone who posts images of this nature may find themselves subject to a criminal investigation should there be evidence of possession or cultivation of drugs of dependence or illicit substances," the spokesman told the Herald Sun, a Melbourne-based tabloid.


The Herald Sun reports that Australian stoners are undeterred by the warning, and continue to share their smoking experiences online.



Pictures of joints, bongs, clouds of smoke, bags of weed and tools like grinders are found in many of the photos. Some show full-out crops of the illegal plants.


“Luv the scent of Kush!” is the caption for a photo of one young man whose face is immersed in a bag containing a large quantity of pot. #kusharmy #whatflightareyouon#whatweedbesmoking #highlife #smokesum and #stoner are just a few of the hashtags he includes.


Currently, a search of the #maryjane hashtag on Instagram returns 300,099 photos. #420 returns 833,325.


While most instagrammers have remembered to turn off the service's automatic geo-location feature before posting these photos, some do not. Many of the photos also contain identifiers like faces, locations and regularly-used screennames.


Victoria police are encouraging anyone who sees drugs or drug paraphernalia on social media websites to come forward with information.




As for the Instagram users, they’re beginning to warn others about the crackdown.


“Dear #aussiestoners, stop posting pics of yourselves with your crops," one Instagram user wrote, cautioning that police were looking at the snaps.




by Lauren O'Neil Posted: September 11, 2012 6:23 PM Last Updated: September 11, 2012 6:31 PM

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