Australian police are searching Instagram hastags such as #aussiestoners, #weedstagram and #oznugs to track down illegal marijuana grow ops and even those who are in possession of marijuana.

A Victoria Police spokesman said this week that “online dopes” would be tracked and prosecuted through photo-sharing websites like Instagram, and would face major 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 said.

If you use a photo-sharing website and are posting illegal pictures – no matter where you live – make sure you turn off the location tracker. It may bring the cops right to your doorstep.

Searches of marijuana-related hastags on Instagram alone often turn up hundreds of thousands of photos. That’s a lot of people to target, especially if those people are easy to find. Law enforcement officials love the easy bust.

It can be tempting for some to want to share a great nug pic with their friends, but if having that nug is illegal where you are, be careful. Technology can be a two-way street.

– Joe Klare

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