My plants on the Interwebs: Is this legal? (Ricardo Baca, The Cannabist)

Ask the Cannabist: Can I legally post photos of my pot plants online?

Hey, Cannabist!

I’m growing weed in my basement, and I’m proud of my little girls. I want to share them on the Internet.

But I know that I’m only allowed to grow if I don’t do so “openly or publicly.” Does posting pictures of my sweet, innocent, happy-making little plants violate that rule?

— Sativa Show and Teller

Hey, Show and Teller!

Your enthusiasm for your Amendment 64-legal garden is understandable, and it’s good you want to be law-abiding when it comes to your home grow. To get more details, I asked marijuana law and criminal defense attorney Lauren Davis about online photos and the law.

Davis says, “Posting pictures of the plants is lawful under Amendment 64. The open and public issue relates to consumption. It is legal to display marijuana openly and publicly. It is not legal to consume marijuana openly and publicly.”

So, it’s O.K. by state law to post online photos of your home grow, but Davis mentions there may be other risks. One factor to consider is whether the photos show off a garden compliant with local laws. Davis says, “If you are not within your legal limits (e.g. your town has a plant cap), you could be facing law enforcement scrutiny for the posting.” So make sure your garden is compliant before posting photos.

Another risk to consider is the impact on your current or future employment, Davis says.

“Many employers search the Internet to vet candidates,” says Davis. “If your employer has a no-drug policy or does not share your feelings about marijuana, it could be used against you. They also may think it is not in good taste.” Depending on your line of work, posting grow photos on your social media accounts may or may not be a good idea.

Of course, there is the larger federal issue to be aware of. Uncle Sam surfs the Web, too. Davis weighs in, “Obviously it is federally illegal, but it is unlikely the Feds would come after a small grower.”

When you do post your aromatic garden photos, Davis has a basic recommendation. “At a minimum, I would suggest posting a disclaimer stating that these are legally grown under state law within the state of Colorado.”


Another online question: Is it ever legal to buy or sell marijuana on Craigslist (and other similar sites)?