There are few days marked on the cultural calendar with such excitement as April 20. Each year, when 420 rolls around and stoners emerge from their socially acceptable hiding places and out into the open, there’s a dankness in the air that leaves you hungry, sleepy and jonesing for Domino’s hot-dog stuffed crust. That’s where the smoke sesh comes in. Gathering together with your nearest and dearest to indulge in a little Sinner’s Spinach is a 420 tradition, passed down through the generations. But, like The Devil’s Lettuce itself, there are unwritten rules that have passed down as well. Don’t want to follow them? Be a lot cooler if you did.
If you want to avoid making a dick of yourself next time you head round to your mate’s house for a toke, you need to get acquainted with proper weed etiquette.
What is Weed Etiquette?
As more and more US states move to legalise recreational marijuana use and the prospect of decriminalised weed gathers pace in Australia, the premise of a good, old-fashion smoke sesh is fast becoming a reality. Within that, comes a number of questions. Do I have to bring my own weed? Can I light up a spliff at a dinner party? Sure, there are levels to this, but having proper etiquette isn’t a difficult thing, particularly if you’ve been practising it in different settings elsewhere in your life. Just ask Lizzie Post.
The US author’s great-great-grandmother wrote the book on etiquette, literally. Since 1922, the Emily Post Institute has published dozens of books relating to social cues and understanding what is and isn’t appropriate. Almost 100 years later, Lizzie is doing just the same, revamping the old ‘Puff-Puff-Pass’ concept for a high-class context in her book Higher Etiquette.
“When we talk about etiquette, we’re talking about consideration and respect and honesty and how those principles can be used to create positive social interactions,” Post told Rolling Stone. “If cannabis is legal and it’s finding its way into our social scenes much more broadly, it makes perfect sense to have our company commenting on it. You don’t necessarily want to be sticking your tongue out and using spit to stop the run in a joint. If I didn’t want to use spit what would I use? It was one of those silly things where you feel your etiquette geeking out.”
Like Lizzie, we appreciate the allure of a good dinner party and half the battle is nailing the protocol. Knowing what to say, how to act and how to get yourself invited back next time are all important aspects of your smoking journey. After all, cannabis culture is full of unwritten rules. These maxims are collectively known as weed etiquette (or weediquette for short) and serve to preserve the unrivalled utopia that is the smoke ring.
Unwritten Rules of the Smoke Sesh
To help get your next toke session off without a hitch, here’s the ultimate guide to weed etiquette. Get it right and your night is certain to be a relaxing journey through a hazy mist, get it wrong and you might find yourself out in the cold. Here are the unwritten rules of weed etiquette.
1. Sharing is Caring
It’s a simple premise, but part of being a good host is always making your guests feel welcome. A true smoke sesh is a bonding experience that brings people together, so it’s important to share your bud. If you are the host, it’s good manners to offer guests the first hit of a joint or bowl. This immediately makes others feel at ease, and they’ll thank you for showing this courtesy. Keep this in mind, but just be conscious of Rule #7.
2. Don’t Stash and Dash
The second piece of advice in weed etiquette guide is never stashing and then dashing. “Don’t get rid of something before asking everyone if they’d like the rest of it,” Post told VOX. “I might think a joint is done at a quarter-inch of the filter, but I’ve got buddies who’d think chucking that was a cardinal sin. I would also say, right up there with finishing it is when you’re starting . Being aware of fresh green is very important.”
3. Don’t Smoke When You’re Sick
Especially in these pandemic times. Keep your distance and try to avoid sharing the spliff, mouth on mouth style. We all know that Mary Jane is good for a lot of things, such as potentially killing bacteria, but curing your cold or stopping the contraction of illnesses between mates – that’s not one of them. If you’re feeling sick, sit this one out, big boy.
4. Drop Some Knowledge
Always let people know what they’re smoking. There’s nothing worse than taking a toke thinking you’ve got the uplifting vibes of Sativa, only to wind up with the dulcet and sleepy Indica. A good host always offers information on where the bush or bud is from, what its make-up is and what you can expect from the high.
5. Ash Before Passing
Being handed a blunt that is red hot on top is an absolute winner for any stoner, but copping an ashy, chalky end right before your rip is pretty an invitation to get bent. Before you pass the joint, make sure you ash it. This way, no one gets stuck with your gross afters and ends up with ash all over their crispy new chinos.
If you’re blessed with a stash of your own and you get invited to a smoke sesh with others, it’s important you bring a little from home. The cannabis community is heavily reliant on sharing and referrals, so putting a little bit of our spin on the mix is a great way to not only endure yourself to the team but also to keep the party going a little longer.
7. He Who Rolls It, Sparks It
The cardinal rule of weed etiquette and perhaps the most well-known. Whoever rolls the joint has the privilege of taking the first toke. Of course, if you are the host, offer it to your guests first. If they know what they’re doing, they’ll likely knock back the offer to keep good with this rule, but it’s all gravy either way.
8. Cash for the Stash
If you are a guest to the smoke sesh, it’s up to you to bring some cash. Always offer to drop a few bucks in the joint jar as a thank you for the invitation, that’s the basic principle of weed etiquette, but don’t be deterred if you’re short on dollars. If this is the case, bring a bag of supplies to share, whether it’s candy, drinks, rolling papers or even a solid mixtape.
9. No Fish Lips
It’s called smoking, not sucking. If you find yourself going down on the joint like it’s backstage at a Whitesnake concert, you probably aren’t getting an invite to the next session. If you are smoking a blunt, keep your lips popped and avoid making actual content with your tongue or the insides of your mouth. Similarly, if a bong is your instrument of choice, always clean the mouthpiece before passing.
10. Always Pass to the Left
No idea why, just do it.
11. Respect Choices
The most important aspect of weed etiquette is respecting choices. Cannabis culture is all about acceptance and compassion, so there’s no peer pressure here. If someone doesn’t want to partake or is against the idea of getting involved, that’s their decision and you need to respect it. It’s not your place to make anyone feel uncomfortable with your recreational endeavours. Inevitably, they will relax, so there’s no need to lump added pressure on them. Be a good host, but more importantly, be a good person.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana is a green, brown, or grey mix of dried, crumbled parts from the marijuana plant. The plant contains chemicals that act on your brain and can change your perception.
What are the effects of marijuana?
There are many different effects of smoking or ingesting marijuana. How cannabis impacts a person depends on several aspects, such as the person’s weight, age and previous drug history. Some of the immediate effects include loss of inhibition, spontaneous laughter, quiet and reflective mood, confusion, mild paranoia, sleepiness, relaxation, low blood pressure and increased appetite.
Is marijuana legal in Australia?
With the exception of Canberra, the recreational use of marijuana is illegal throughout the country of Australia. The penalties for breaking the law will vary from state to state.