Just because you’re getting high doesn’t mean you have to be uncivilized. Your next weed bash will be so classy, you can invite grandma.
“Weed etiquette, cannabis etiquette really, is truly a thing.” says Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post herself. In addition to co-running the Emily Post Institute, Post writes about cannabis etiquette for Broccoli magazine, a cannabis magazine for women. She’s not the first in her family, either. Her grandmother mentioned cannabis in one of her entertaining books from the 1980s, before it was legalized in any state.
“As long as people have been sharing cannabis together, there has been etiquette about how to do it,” she says.
Some of that etiquette has changed since Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational weed in 2012, with nine others thus far doing the same. 29 other states have medical marijuana and decriminalized recreational to varying degrees. It’s easier than ever to score legal weed, and you don’t have to worry about code words or secret meet-ups. That “prohibition etiquette,” as Post calls it, is it’s own thing and will be of the past if legalization becomes national.
Even if you don’t smoke, if you live in a legal state, you can’t avoid cannabis. You can consume cannabis in a variety of ways from joints to THC concentrates and do it all without fear of legal consequences. That availability opens up a new set of etiquette questions. “We’ve got to deal with it,” says Post. “The time was really years ago but the time is now.”
We asked weed experts for their advice on cannabis etiquette in an increasingly legalized country.
Munchies and Supplies
A dinner party with cannabis is still a dinner party. That means you should still bring a gift for your host. That doesn’t have to be weed but it’s an option, just like wine or a side dish.
“It would be perfectly appropriate, just like any other gathering, to just show up with whatever food you were supposed to bring for the evening and your merry self,” Post says. “It would also be appropriate to show up with a host gift like a nugget or a particular kind of concentrate you know this person likes.”
Even if you can swing just a few grams, offering your own favorite strain is a great conversation starter and a polite gesture to the host.
As more states legalize cannabis, there’s nothing wrong with bringing a nugget or joint to offer the host even if the occasion isn’t explicitly involving cannabis. That is, so long as you know your host likes it and you are in a legal state. It’s like bringing their favorite cabernet. Just don’t be a pusher.
“You can show up with a joint and offer it but you don’t want to demand that it be smoked at the party,” says Post. “You want to give the host permission to use it that evening and serve it to guests or to save it for themselves for another night. Exactly like a bottle of wine.”
Regardless of how you gift your host, also bring “whatever you need to take care of you,” says Post. After all, she says, “cannabis culture is incredibly respectful of people having the high that works for them.” If you vape regularly, for example, bring your vape pen and ask your host where they prefer you use it.
Sharing and Presenting
While many unwritten rules about cannabis etiquette are becoming more obsolete as legalization continues, some are evergreen. A major one is cornering your bowl. That means you should light the side and not the whole top. “Green hits,” or when you first light fresh plant, are the best and you don’t want to be the one who took all that for yourself.
Beyond that, it’s pretty much whatever the host and guests are comfortable with. “Puff, puff, pass” is a classic rule of thumb for joints that means you puff twice and only twice before passing it to the next person. Generally, the person who rolled the joint gets to light it first or decide who does.
With the increasing ubiquity of legal dispensaries, there are so many options for serving guests their cannabis. Post says when she’s traveled to legal states, she’s seen joints in arranged in decorative mason jars, served at the dinner table or on trays, or “a lot of people just “keep them in their pockets until it’s time to break the joints out.”
“It just so depends on what kind of entertaining experience you’re setting up for folks. Is this a formal dinner party at your house? Are you placing dab rigs on the table to take hits of certain terpenes with? What’s the deal?”
How you and your guests partake in cannabis may vary depending on your tastes but one universal rule is, let everyone know precisely what they’re consuming. “Depending on what group of friends you hang out with, you could be describing effects. You could be talking about cannabinoids and terpenes. You could be talking about indica and sativa. It depends on how your social group identifies with cannabis and what their level of knowledge is.”
Like alcohol, everyone’s tolerance is different, but you still would tell someone if their lemonade is spiked with the strongest vodka you’ve ever encountered.
How to Not be a Pusher
Everyone’s tolerances and preferences for mind-altering substances varies. How do you then offer guests drugs without pressuring them?
“Oh I think that’s when you use the wonderful language of ‘if you like,’” says Post.
‘If you like, I have a dab rig in the other room, happy to have you use your own concentrate or mine”; “if you would like, I’ve got some vape pens if you didn’t bring your own over”; “if you would like, we could heat up the volcano”; “please help yourself to joints if you would like a joint”; “please feel free to pack a bowl, here’s my spoon and a nug or feel free to use your own.”
“It’s really about extending the offer, that way your guests can make decisions for themselves.”
If everyone shared the same glass or drank directly from the same beer bottle at a party, it would be disgusting and also just really weird. The same is true for cannabis, sort of. Sharing a joint or pipe can be a fun way to partake in a social setting but if you’ve got dozens of people coming through, it gets gross really fast.
According to Andrew Mieure of Top Shelf Budtending, a “classy cannabis” service in Colorado that helps people plan their cannabis events, you should take bring your own joint or pipe to smoke. Sharing a soggy joint with vestiges of your snot is “a very uncool move.”
Regardless of if you’re sick, Mieure also suggests bringing alcohol wipes, personal joint papers and bong condoms (a piece to cover the mouth of the bong like, well, a condom). He has too many horror stories of a single device being passed between “literally hundreds of people” at weddings, without it being cleaned. Don’t be those people.
Don’t Stress if You Mess Up
“The nice thing about the cannabis community is that it’s a pretty chill community,” Post says. “Even when other cannabis enthusiasts make mistakes, like lawn mowing an entire bowl, we’re not harsh about it. It’s got a teasing nature to it. It’s about speaking up and communicating well with each other.”