“It’s a culture that is deeply rooted in sharing, which means there are a lot of interactions, and it’s also a culture that really has embraced generosity.”
Now that cannabis has become legalized in Canada, more and more people are turning to the plant for recreational purposes. But what you may not know is that there is a whole etiquette when it comes to consuming cannabis, and it has never been more appropriate to practice it properly. According to Statistics Canada, 5.3 million or 18% of Canadians aged 15 years and older have used cannabis in the last three months. This was higher than the 14% who reported using just one year earlier, before legalization.
This is why learning different types of etiquette styles for smoking cannabis is so important. When we investigated, we found some transactional courtesies had been deeply ingrained in the fabric of America for entire generations. Lizzie Post, the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, legendary etiquette expert, recently published a guidebook, Higher Etiquette: A Guide to the World of Cannabis, From Dispensaries to Dinner Parties. We decided to chat with her on the phone about some of the rules and traditions that exist to help people navigate these waters, as either a new smoker or someone who is more experienced.
Post knows that many of the cultures and traditions in cannabis smoking have been long established. “It’s a culture that is deeply rooted in sharing and that means there are a lot of interactions and it’s also a culture that really has embraced generosity.” She points to sharing circles within groups, and how most people typically will share joints or spliffs as a show of love and respect. “I think that love and appreciation for everything that it does for you really ends up translating to why people share it so much.”
While it’s true that experienced cannabis smokers may know these rules by heart, Post thinks it’s important to share these customs with newer smokers, and guide them through the process. She’s noticed that since legalization has happened, individuals have been more patient and open. “I think now more than ever, people are much more willing to talk about the cannabis that they’re consuming,” Post explains sharing that people may know the strain name or the producer or the terpene profile. “I find that people are more willing to communicate that to each other and it’s a noticeable difference.”
When you’re in public, be mindful of your settings. If people around you seem uncomfortable, make sure to mind your space. But Post also believes to read the room, and take it from there. Also, remember to try and contribute to the party. She explains, “If you’re at a party where you’re the one person who brought cannabis, people are probably going to be really interested in getting a hit. Decide ahead of time if you want to share!” Also, the whole debate about passing to the left or the right? “I do think that it’s way more about the group that you’re in and it’s who you’re hanging out with. There’s definitely no right or wrong way. Just kind of keep it consistent with the way people are going and make sure people don’t get skipped.”
Not much about cannabis etiquette has changed since legalization, but most of it is about common sense. When we all start to learn what “puff puff pass” and “don’t bogart the joint” means, we can all start to feel more comfortable in a circle or at a party.