pot smokers etiquette

Emily Post’s great-great-granddaughter wrote a delightful guide to cannabis etiquette

senior lifestyle correspondent

“Etiquette is the science of living,” said Emily Post, who wrote the 1922 book that is still the prevailing tome on the topic. ”It is the code of sportsmanship and of honor. It is ethics.”

That book, Etiquette: In Society, In Business, In Politics and At Home, provides guidance on the correct length of cloth for an afternoon tea table, the proper way to sign a condolence card, and why it’s uncouth to offer a bride “congratulations” for securing a husband. (Extend your best wishes instead.) Post also references the polite enjoyment of cigarettes and cigars. “There is not a modern New York hostess, scarcely even an old-fashioned one,” she wrote, “who does not have cigarettes passed after dinner.”

The grande dame of good manners was silent, however, on how to properly react if a person passed you a joint that was burning quickly and—egads!—unevenly, or offered you a “dab” from a tabletop rig.

Cannabis, of course, was not typically offered in the early 20th century smoking-rooms where cigars, liqueurs, and coffee were enjoyed into the evenings. But today, as legalization takes hold, we’re all increasingly likely to find ourselves in social situations where the plant is present—and now, it might be smoked, eaten, imbibed, vaporized, dabbed, or even absorbed through one’s skin. To the uninitiated, smoking pot can be an intimidating social undertaking. There’s equipment involved and open flames, not to mention the risk of getting oneself into a state—stoned, paranoid, giggling, etc.—where socializing can become a challenge unto itself.

Never fear. Post’s 36-year-old great-great-granddaughter Lizzie is here with her own soon-to-be-definitive book of manners: Higher Etiquette: A Guide to the World of Cannabis, from Dispensaries to Dinner Parties. This pot primer is at once authoritative and approachable, filled with answers to the sorts of questions that might make a newbie feel like a nerd.

For those whose stoner schooling stopped at puff, puff, pass, there is now a literal guidebook. And it’s good. Post—who works with her relatives to maintain their ancestor’s legacy with the Emily Post Institute—writes with humor and grace, combining basic principles of “higher etiquette,” including respect, generosity, gratitude, and sharing, with technicalities of today’s newfangled age of cannabis consumption: What, again, is “dabbing”?

She also makes suggestions that position her as a sort of stoner mega-hostess: If you’re passing joints at a dinner party, consider finger bowls—finger bowls!—of water on the table, in case someone needs wet fingers to troubleshoot a joint that’s running, or burning unevenly. (The book taught me this problem is also called “canoeing.”) One gets the feeling Post comes by this role honestly.

With an embossed gold title on a pale green twill-textured cover, Higher Etiquette looks like it belongs on a coffee table alongside a mid-century modern brass ashtray, and perhaps a hand-glazed ceramic one-hitter. It comes out March 26, and would make a lovely gift come 4/20.

Herewith, some tips from Higher Etiquette for indulging in places where cannabis consumption is legal, with “sportsmanship and honor.”

DO: corner the bowl

When passing a pipe the old-fashioned way, it’s kind to “corner” the bowl of packed buds as opposed to “lawn mowing” it. This means one should light the bowl at an edge, saving some fresh green for everyone in rotation, rather than blazing the flames across the top and blackening the entire bowl.

DON’T: Bogart the joint

Fun fact: “Bogarting is a term derived from the way Humphrey Bogart would just let a cigarette hang out of his mouth, not seeming to actually smoke it.” Don’t do that. Writes Post: “‘It’s not a microphone.’” Pass it!

DO: Hit a blunt three times before passing

“As opposed to the standard two hits off a joint.”

But proceed with caution. Post warns that the tobacco leaf wrapper on a blunt (also known, she tells us, as an “L, dutch, dutchie, philly, cannon, bluntski, B, Bleezy/Bleez-e”) contributes to an intensified high. This is all from a section about “cannon-specific courtesies” that’s delightful for its incongruity.

DON’T: “Chaz the banger”

Dabbing consists of dropping a cannabis concentrate (a dab) onto a heated element and inhaling water-cooled vapor through a glass chamber. This process employs an apparatus known as a rig, which is designed for temperature precision and likely to be pricey. “Chazzing the banger” is slang for scorching the heated element, also known as the “nail.”

Dabbing is intense—in terms of both equipment and results—so tread carefully. Post also advises that rig owners “be mindful of newbies and help them to not overdo it,” and that guest dabbers ask before touching a rig, listen to the owner’s suggestions in regards to specific heating times or temperatures, and, you know, “avoid chazzing the banger.”

DO: Label cannabis-infused foods at get-togethers

Post suggests a descriptive label such as: “African Queen macarons: positive and relaxing head-high.” She also recommends a separate spread of non-infused foods, for those who aren’t partaking in the cannabis items, and so that no one overdoes it on the edibles as a result of the munchies (a vicious cycle, indeed).

DON’T: Talk about crossing state lines with cannabis at a dispensary

They might have to ask you to leave.

DO: Tip your bud-tenders and delivery people

If you’re unsure whether a driver is allowed to accept a tip, just ask. With both bud-tenders and delivery people, think of food-service as a model.

“As with all regular service providers,” says Post, “you should consider your regular delivery person during your holiday thank-yous.” (Maybe they’ll hook you up with a holiday gift too!)

DON’T: Ask the delivery person to stay a while

This is a legal business now, and they’re at work!

DO: Be the host with the most (communication)

Overall, Post emphasizes that communication is key, especially in the new age of legalization, when comfort levels about cannabis vary widely. Let people know what to expect in your home: Is it 420-friendly? Do you prefer smoke—or, as Post calls it, “combustion”—to happen outdoors, and if so, where?

If you’re hosting houseguests, Post suggests letting them know the aforementioned protocols, in addition to alerting them of any “house stash” (properly labeled, of course) to which they may help themselves, and pointing them to local dispensaries.

As for parties, “you set the standard in your own home,” writes Post. “It’s up to you to make decisions and then communicate them clearly and kindly to your guests when you issue your invitation.” Homegrown to burn? BYO? Just let your guests know.

And remember, a finger bowl for every table.

How to smoke weed with good manners.

Puff, Puff, Pass: The Complete Weed Etiquette Guide

Our culture is full of unwritten rules, many of which are extremely important. Don’t go through the express lane at the grocery store with more than 12 items. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

And always, always, always replace the toilet paper when the roll is empty.

Cannabis culture is full of unwritten rules too. These maxims are collectively known as weed etiquette (or weediquette for short) and serve to preserve the veritable utopia that is the smoke circle.

Mess up and the world spins off its axis and falls into the sun. Just kidding.

But seriously, weed etiquette is there for a reason. It helps to maximize the fun had by all when partaking of the wacky weed in social situations.

So to help your next toke sesh go off without a hitch, the cannabis experts at Honest Marijuana have put together a list of the unwritten weed etiquette rules that everyone should follow.

The Complete Weed Etiquette Guide

1) Make Your Guests Feel Welcome

If you’re hosting a smoke-out, do your best to make everyone feel welcome. Lay out a spread of food and drink, put on some chill music, and chat with your guests before the cannabis consumption commences.

After the festivities, pop in a classic stoner movie, kick up the tempo of the tunes, initiate a weed game or two, and make sure everyone’s feeling irie.

2) Don’t Make An Issue If Someone Doesn’t Want To Partake

Cannabis culture is a compassionate and considerate culture — or at least it should be. So if someone doesn’t want to partake, weed etiquette dictates that you don’t make a big stink.

They’ll relax once the joint or bong is passed. Contact highs are wonderful that way. Maybe the next time around they’ll join in.

3) Don’t Puff When You’re Sick

Mary Jane is great for a lot of things, but killing viruses and bacteria is not one of its superpowers (at least not in the decarboxylated form you smoke).

So if you’re feeling ill, pass, don’t puff. If you’re just dying to prove your worth, offer to go on a munchie run or act as DJ for the night.

4) Let People Know What They’re Smoking

Everyone handles their weed differently. And even though you can tolerate double-digit THC, the lightweights in your group may not be ready.

That’s why it’s vital to exercise a little weed etiquette and let your buds know exactly what bud they’re about to smoke. There should be no bad trips on your watch.

5) 86 The Seeds And Stems

Seeds and stems pop and spark when you burn them. Plus, they taste awful. So what the hell are they still doing in your stash?

You may enjoy a bit of woody in your weed, but we can pretty much guarantee that no one else does. Eighty-six that garbage before the cannaseurs convene.

6) Offer To Pay Or Bring Some Supplies To Share

It’s not absolutely necessary, but if you’re a guest, offer to drop a few bucks in the joint jar as a thank you for the invitation. That’s just good weed etiquette.

If you’re suddenly cashless (and your pal doesn’t take credit cards), bring a bag of supplies to share. Candy, pop, rolling papers, an awesome mixtape, your favorite bong — all of these are welcome additions if you’re without funds at the moment.

7) Bring A Bit Of Your Own Stash

If you’re fortunate enough to be with stash (marijuana, not hair on your lip), bring a bit to share with your canna-compatriots. You don’t have to bring everything you have. Enough for another joint is all that’s really necessary.

Just imagine if everyone in the group did that. You’d be puffing for days.

8) He Who Rolls It Sparks It

Whoever rolls the joint gets the privilege of taking the first toke. If you’re the host, skip down to number 11 on this list. That rule trumps this one. Sorry, Charlie. You can cop a green hit when you’re by yourself.

9) If You Can’t Roll A Joint, Be Honest

Rolling a joint is an art and a skill (much like writing these articles). So if you can’t roll a passable joint, just say so.

No one’s going to get on your case. That’s another unwritten part of weed etiquette. In fact, they’ll just be glad you didn’t try to roll the wrong way and wind up with something that falls apart or doesn’t burn right.

10) Don’t Burn The Whole Bowl

The nice thing about a bong is that you can get multiple green hits from one bowl. So if you’re passing glass and are first in line, control your flame and only light a small corner of the precious pot.

That way, the next few tokers can experience the same joy.

11) Offer Guests The First Hit

Even if you roll the joint or build the bowl, weed etiquette demands that you let your guests have the first go. Don’t be a greedy douche and hog all the primo hits. You’ll get your turn at some point, so relax and enjoy the ride.

12) Ash The Blunt Or Joint Before You Pass

Being handed a joint with a cherry on top is like Christmas morning — you just can’t wait to start ripping. But if you’re handed a joint with ash still stacked on the end, it’s like getting up early on Christmas morning, seeing all the presents, and having to wait for dad to wake up and finally make his way downstairs at noon.

Don’t make your neighbor wait. Ash the blunt or joint before you pass.

13) Keep Your Saliva Where It Belongs

Like Pavlov’s dog, we all start drooling when we see the sticky icky heading our way. That’s natural. But slobber on the piece? Not cool!

Do your best to abide by weed etiquette and clean the mouthpiece before you pass the bong. We’re not talking full sterilization here. Just a quick wipe with a clean cloth is all that’s necessary if you lose control of your spit.

14) Clear The Chamber

Who likes stale smoke? No one we know. How would you feel if you got some of this noxious gas mixed with your fresh hit? Not good.

Be a pal and do your best to clear the chamber before you let the next person have a hit. If you can’t get it all in one inhale, blow the rest out through the carb hole.

15) Left Is Right

Don’t ask us why, but left is always right when it comes to passing the blunt or bong. Nuff said.

16) Don’t Be A Bogie

We always enjoy a bit of Bogie (especially he and Bacall), but when someone bogarts the doobie — keeps it longer than they should — that’s where we draw the line.

Get a good hit and then pass that sucker to the next hungry mouth. Puff, puff, pass is a good mantra if for some reason you can’t remember this simple piece of weed etiquette.

17) Don’t Be A Buzzkill

A smoke sesh, by nature, is a happy occasion. We all want to ride that wave as long as possible. So do your best not to kill the buzz by discussing sad or depressing topics ad nauseum.

No lost pets. No shattered dreams. And definitely no R.E.M.

18) Don’t Blow Smoke In Someone’s Face

Polite weed etiquette states that you never blow smoke in someone’s face (unless they’re prepared to shotgun). If you’re sitting in a tight circle, blow your smoke up away from those around you.

19) Don’t Pass Ash

If you notice the bowl getting dangerously low, mention that it might be cashed as you pass. Everyone has a different point at which they repack, but no one likes a surprise mouthful of ash.

If you’re concerned, show the owner the sad state of affairs and he (or she) can decide what to do next.

20) Treat The Bong Like Precious Cargo

You wouldn’t treat your friend’s car with reckless abandon. Don’t treat their bong like a rental either. Good-quality glass is expensive and it’s holding precious cargo.

Make sure your circlemate has a good hold on the globe before you let go. And never, ever, under penalty of stoning (not the good kind), throw the bong from person to person.

Have Fun

If you’re brand-spanking-new to the stoner circle, follow the experienced smoker’s lead. Don’t be offended if someone tells you what to do. They just want everyone to have a good time.

Along those same lines, if you’re a toker from way back, don’t ride the newbs too hard. Remember, you were grass green once too. If they do something “wrong,” nonchalantly let them know. Don’t make a big thing out of it.

And for all involved — master and novice alike — just have fun. That’s the heart and soul of the weed experience.

Don’t break the rules of weed etiquette. Abide (like the Dude), and your smoke sesh will be a success. Honest Marijuana’s guide has all the unwritten rules. ]]>