Cannabis is Essential, by Lizzie Post
04.13.21 - 4 min read
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About the Author:
Lizzie Post is a co-president at The Emily Post Institute, America’s go-to source for etiquette advice. She is the co-host of the Awesome Etiquette podcast, and author of multiple etiquette books including Higher Etiquette.
This blog is sponsored by Green Thumb Industries. Any opinions expressed are those of Lizzie Post.
“Cannabis is essential. It seems like such a simple truth. When the pandemic hit and cannabis was in fact declared an essential service that needed to remain available to the public and patients, the realization hit many of us like a ton of bricks. Not only as a huge wave of validation, but as a truth outed. For many, usage during the past year went beyond recreational use. Cannabis truly became essential. An aid that was helping us make it through an unprecedented time. From lowering anxiety to helping with sleep, and the physical/psychological pain of pandemic life, to helping us at times handle well the sheer boredom, cannabis has been helping people across America to cope. For so many it has become an essential part of self care routines.
Traditionally one of the most well known aspects of weed culture is the generous sharing of cannabis between friends, acquaintances and even sometimes strangers. In stark contrast to cannabis culture norms, this past year saw many of us consuming alone, or together but with personals if we were so fortunate. There are signs that as we are allowed to gather again, there will be so many more cannabis consumers to engage with. From more people feeling open and confident about sharing what or even that they consume to entire states-worth of people who can engage legally with cannabis recreationally and medicinally, there are going to be many new (and renewed) opportunities to connect with other cannabis consumers. And after a year of not socializing, we are both ready to go and feeling there’s definitely some essential cannabis etiquette to consider.
It can be easy to love your engagement with cannabis and think that your strain, your style of consumption or your purpose for consuming is the right one or the best one. Or at least so good others just HAVE to hear you out or try it. But with the cannabis community’s vast array of products, methods and uses, getting curious and interested in the differences can often offer a more sociable experience – and sometimes a better use of cannabis for you as well. No one is here to win at cannabis. (We all win when it’s legal.) When a friend comes over to see your homegrown and sample a little (perhaps to celebrate the end of social distancing!) you can still be proud and excited about your plants, your joint rolling skills whatever it is, but stop before you start putting others down, and remember to ask your friend about their preferences and perspective. I’ve been using Biocanna’s Bio-vega and I put my clones in live soil, for me this has worked so well! How’s your crop looking this summer? Or You know I mostly just like to hit my bowl at the end of a long day, what’s your routine these days?
During prohibition so much of respecting people’s privacy was for safety concerns. While the subject of cannabis shouldn’t be forbidden or taboo in any state where cannabis is legalized, whether or not someone engages and shares their engagement is still a private matter. If you can be loud and proud, please do so (respectfully of course). But if you aren’t there yet, it’s best to let those around you know that your consumption isn’t something that your kids, work colleagues, certain friend groups or relatives know about. When someone who uses cannabis medicinally shares that with you, you must remember that it is private medical information. Piping up to Clint at the water cooler, that Kelsey uses cannabis for anxiety instead of prozac, whether it’s casually or to prove a point, is not okay. It’s Kelsey who gets to share that information if she chooses.
Some feel it’s important to not discuss cannabis in front of children. While it’s best to take a parent’s lead on whether or not to, you might also find that having clean simple answers for kids takes the awkwardness out of something that used to be more taboo. When a ten year old pipes up and says, What’s cannabis? You can easily respond with, It’s an herb that some adults use for different reasons and you might make a choice about it when you’re older. When states legalize many youngsters are taught about the plant, what to look for and recognize the same way we teach them about alcohol, tobacco and prescription medication.
When it’s finally legal to smoke cannabis on private property it can feel exciting to think about lighting up at every barbecue and dinner party you get invited to. It’s going to be as normal as drinking a beer. But it’s not. Smoke is still something that can easily bother those who are around. Both the smoke itself and the aroma. And while it feels so incredible to finally be free to enjoy at social events (host permitting of course) cannabis is still something that we should ask first about when we are a guest or in a group setting. Many a casual host has said, Yeah sure, it’s legal now, feel free to bring some pot instead of wine, but ends up asking their guest to please take it outside or to a different part of the yard when it actually comes to lighting up, or puffing on a vape. As a guest even if you’ve been given permission it’s smart to read the room when it comes to actually choosing to spark your bowl or doobie (or however you choose to consume). Are there kids around? Best not to smoke, or at least do a double check that it’s actually okay. Some parents see it as no different than the glass of wine or Advil their kids see them with, others do not want smoking to be a familiar sight for their kids. As the consumer, the easy thing to do, is to ask first, then read the room and ask again if need be. Carmella, is there a best time or place to enjoy that nugg I brought?
There are a few cannabis etiquette tips that are so classic they are beyond essential, they are engrained deeply in cannabis culture and are favorites. They pertain to different methods but all come from the same basic principle: share your pot well. The first is even a song: Don’t bogart that joint (…ma friend) means that you should keep the joint moving if it’s being shared. The more direct version of this advice is another classic puff puff pass. During social distancing we adhered to puff don’t pass to discourage sharing germs. While some may choose personals forever onward, many are excited for the moment in the next few months when they can finally say, hey, it’s not a mic, pass the blunt (please).
There are other good behaviors to keep in mind like only consuming if you have something to share, offering for a guest of honor to spark a joint, or making sure that you always, ALWAYS, use an ashtray – ask for one if a host hasn’t provided anything. But hands down one of everyone’s favorite pieces of essential cannabis etiquette is, that will come in handy as we get back to shared sessions is: Don’t lawnmow the bowl. When you burn the entire surface of a bowl, you eliminate the ability for the next person taking a toke to get a fresh hit. To fix this, only burn a small amount of the bud in a bowl so that others sharing it have a chance at a fresh hit as well. If you lawnmow it, you roast the whole thing (torch the crop). That isn’t good etiquette unless you’re smoking personals.
Whether you are new to the world of cannabis, or have been deep in the culture for decades, the cannabis community is coming out of this period stronger than ever. With the validation of cannabis as essential, new states legalizing both recreationally and medicinally, and with millions consuming responsibly, we can be even more proud of our connection to the plant and community that gives us so much. As we re-engage our social lives whether we are sharing cannabis with others, or navigating spaces with those who don’t consume we can do so with confidence, consideration, respect and gratitude. Now. Would someone please pass the lighter?…“
Lizzie is the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, and author of Higher Etiquette, and co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette 19th edition as well as Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette 6th edition, and The Etiquette Advantage in Business 3rd edition. She is a co-president of the Emily Post Institute as well as a co-host of the Awesome Etiquette podcast (now in its fifth year), a weekly Q&A show that explores the topic of etiquette through the lens of consideration, respect, and honesty. Lizzie does speaking engagements across the country sharing advice about lifestyle and wedding etiquette. She has worked as a spokesperson for brands including Bank of America, American Express Platinum, AirBnB, and Marshalls. She has held columns with Good Housekeeping, Women’s Running, and Houzz.com, The Farmhouse Movement, and Broccoli Magazine. Lizzie offers a fresh, relatable, perspective with an engaging voice. She delights in encouraging the individual stand up for personal boundaries while respecting others. Lizzie enjoys tackling etiquette’s taboo topics with the media, making her a popular source. Her interviews include NFL Films, NBC’s The Today Show, Katie, Fox & Friends, Live with Kelly and Michael, The Gayle King Show, The Wendy Williams Show, Slate, Refinery29, Vanity Fair, Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Harper’s Bazaar, Travel & Leisure, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post and more.
Lizzie Post holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education from The University of Vermont and currently lives in her native Vermont.
Do you have questions about what’s right for you? Visit risecannabis.com and find a dispensary near me.