Emily Post was the queen of good manners in the U.S. There was a time when Americans needed some good breeding. A large part of our tribe originated in the fields of pioneer farms, the dust and dirt of the plains, and the immigrant steerage of ships. So, Emily and the like took it into their heads to teach us one fork from another and other such hoity-toity manners. But Emily never mentioned cannabis consuming etiquette.
It’s not that cannabis wasn’t around in her day (1872-1960), but it wasn’t “proper” to discuss such “evils” in public. Now, Lizzie Post, Emily’s great-great-granddaughter, is the voice for cannabis social manners in her book on Higher Etiquette.
10 good manners:
- Don’t befriend your dealer. If you must depend on a dealer for your cannabis, you should be as polite as you would be with any shop person. However, the dealer is working illegally, so you don’t want him/her in your first circle of friends. You don’t invite a dealer to dinner or into a sustaining relationship. You may get yours from your college roommate, but you shouldn’t take them home to meet your parents.
- Wait on your host. When you are someone’s dinner guest, you should follow the host’s lead. If they light up before or after dinner, it’s an invitation to do the same. If the dinner or party is presented as a cannabis event, the invitation should explain the host will provide a selection of cannabis strains. Or, it might encourage you to bring your own. Conscientious hosts will let you know what to expect; they might even provide lighters and papers.
- Watch your tongue. When you talk about cannabis, the gold standard of good manners calls for you to avoid using slang terms like weed, grass, doobie, or any of the hundreds of today’s street words. Cannabis provides many topics for conversation, so you have every reason to discuss strains, effects, and experiences. You might discuss shopping at various dispensaries. But discussing prices and bargains seems impolite.
- Select a sociable strain. If you are a guest or host, you should use a strain that keeps you clear and focused. It’s not proper to couch-out any more than you should pass out from drinking. A strain that encourages good cheer, mild euphoria, and/or the munchie-craving giggles is fine, but a mellow one that leaves everyone chilled makes for fun after-dinner pleasantries.
- Set a cannabis table. If yours is a sit-down dinner, a generous host will anticipate guest needs and preferences. Place settings might include vape pens beside the china or laid across the top of the dinner plate. A small bowl with water or a wet sponge would help quests prepare their smokes at the table wetting their paper instead of sealing it with spittle.
- Layout an after-dinner treat. A host might set up a buffet or “dessert” table displaying several strains. A card placed in front of every strain would identify the strain, its potency, and the expected effects. Cannabis products should be presented in distinctly separate dishes, so the strains do not mix. Hosts may also opt to present strains appropriate to pipes and bowls.
- Open the room. Some guests do not use or enjoy a smoke-filled room. A good host will respect their wishes. For example, smoking guests could be directed to a patio or garden setting, or the outdoor might be reserved for non-smokers. In either case, service should be provided there in the form of beverages and munchies.
- Hale and farewell. Guests might consider brinhing a cannabis gift instead of flowers or a bottle of wine. Where dispensaries are local, you can find any number of reasonably-priced gifts. A thoughtful host will arrange for safe rides home for those who have been using strong stuff.
- Calculate the dosage. Guests and hosts should track the dosing. This is especially true if the party or dinner includes cannabis-infused foods at dinner and/or in cannabis candies and baked goods for dessert. Guests are responsible for their own consumption, but responsible hosts will provide information on ingredients and THC: CBD content. One option is to build the event around a cannabis expert who would lecture on different strains and coach guests on use and expectations.
- Puff and pass. If you are in a smoking circle, it’s selfish and impolite to “bogart” the joint, blunt, and pipe being passed to the left. You don’t want to hold onto it or take more than two puffs at a time. If the strain has anything going for it, holding three or more puffs will knock you down.
Keep the peace!
With more states legalizing sale and possession, consuming cannabis among friends is much more common than before. Most events are casual. That is, hosts and guests routinely gather for poker, football game watch, casual dinner, or around a beach bonfire. They bring their own stash and equipment, and they do watch out for each other.
But formal dinners are increasingly planned around cannabis use and cannabis-infused menus. Planning and execution should follow standard etiquette practices and behaviors. Traditional niceties governing conversation and menu sequence still rule. However, with everything planned around an intoxicating experience, hosts and guests must make some adjustments to behavior in the same way centering dinner around a whiskey demonstration would call for some special manners.