A Modern Smoker's Guide to Cannabis Etiquette
The unspoken rules of the "puff, puff, pass" ritual -- including all of the steps it takes to toke up -- are mostly obvious to those who already partake in marijuana. But now, as recreational cannabis becomes more common, smoking weed is even more out in the open, and there are plenty of reefer rookies who have no clue how to handle themselves in social situations.
Our guide to common cannabis courtesies in any social setting will answer your questions whether you’re a novice trying to play it cool, an old-timer who needs to brush up, or someone in between who’s lighting up. Just remember, always mind your marijuana manners.
General smoking etiquette
Puff, puff, pass
It’s the oldest rule in the book when smoking with anyone else. Two hits with a joint or blunt, but usually just one when smoking out of a pipe or otherwise.
Respect the passing rotation
After a round or two, the order can easily be forgotten. But establish a clockwise rotation in the beginning of a sharing session.
Be a provider
If the session is your idea, always offer up your own first and make sure it’s without seeds and stems.
Be time sensitive
We’re all guilty of holding on to a joint for far too long. Pass it fast.
If you’re sick but want to participate, bring your own piece.
Keep your saliva in check when partaking with a group.
Avoid passing stale smoke
If you're smoking out of a bong, bubbler, or anything with a chamber, clear that shit. Blow it out the other end when the hit is too big.
Don't pass garbage
Call out a cashed bowl. If it lands on you, offer up your own to repack. If you’re without, pass it back to the session host.
You break it, you buy it. Always offer to replace or reimburse someone if you’ve broken their lucky pipe or pricey glass.
Burn with caution
Light up carefully to only burn the bowl around the edges and inward. Everyone appreciates a green hit.
He who rolls it, sparks it
If you’re offering a joint or a blunt, it’s on you to fire it up. If using a pipe, always offer the first hit up. It’s just good manners.
Smoking at a party
Use proper judgment
Go with your gut when proposing a session. Is your new boss on the guest list, or is it dinner with your squad? Use your brain.
May I? Inside or outside? Like with a cigarette, ask permission at the beginning of the event and where your host would prefer you to smoke. If you’re hosting, make it clear where your guests should smoke.
Respect your host
Does your host smoke pot? If yes, it’s appropriate to bring as a host/hostess gift. Go with pre-rolls in a cool case or buds in a decorative jar. But FYI, since it’s a gift, they don’t have to smoke it with you then and there.
Be respectful of other guests who don’t partake. Avoid causing a mass exodus to the patio, lest smoking turn into the main event for the night and leave others inside alone.
Be inclusive, or be discreet
If I’m going outside to smoke, how many people do I invite? It depends on the size of the party. If it’s a smaller affair, always be inclusive and make sure there’s enough pot for everyone. If it’s a rager, discreetly step away into a private area or outside with just a few other guests.
Peer pressure was for high school.
Smoking at a concert
Do I ask my fellow row-mates if they’re cool with it before lighting up? Know your crowd. Are you at a Taylor Swift concert or a bluegrass show? Generally no permission is needed -- especially at an outdoor venue. But it’s generally uncool to light up at a Wiggles show.
Pass with care
If you’re surrounded by a small group of good people give a nod when you spark it and pass it on. If it’s really rowdy around you, you’re fine to keep it to yourself.
Keep track of your offerings
If your pipe never comes back around, ask down the line for help retrieving it. It’s never smart to bring a valuable piece to a show though.
Keep your eye on security -- although even in illegal states, at the right shows, most guards don’t give a crap if you’re not being too blatant. Respect their authority, even if you’re flaunting it.
When consuming edibles
Know your tolerance
If you’re prone to totally zoning out when eating weed, save it for when you’re home alone.
Share and share alike
If you’re going out, have enough to share. Otherwise, eat one when nobody's watching.
Mark your goods
Everybody loves brownies. But nobody loves eating three at a party not knowing that they’re made with cannabis.
Smoking at home
Keep it courteous
In recreational legal states, as long as it’s private property it’s legal to smoke on your porch. But it’s a personal call of common courtesy: are you smoking weed 24/7 out there? How close is your house to your neighbors? In states where weed is still illegal? It’s illegal. Either way, it’s good manners to go out back.
When children are present
Smoke outside of their view/smell and invest in a locking stash box.
When roommates are present
Always be upfront with your usage and define the rules of the house from the beginning. If your roommate partakes and it’s cool to smoke in common areas, you’re not obligated to offer it up every time you spark one. If you’re also on friendly terms and have similar smoking schedules, throwing in on a monthly house supply is a good idea.
Sharing with housemates
Never pinch a roommate's stash without asking. If you have trust issues, lock it up in a stash box in your bedroom.
When roommates have guests
It’s a nice gesture to share if you’re feeling generous and hospitable. But if it’s more than a few people and/or becomes a regular occurrence, avoid the awkward conversation (insert "I’m running low" excuse here) and smoke in private.
At a hotel
Smoke at your own risk
It’s illegal, and usually comes with a hefty fine... and that includes smoking on balconies. Risk it with the old bathroom fan/towel under the door trick from college. Vape or eat edibles. Or just don’t.
Smoke at your own risk
Whatever your state's legalization status there is still no legal place to consume cannabis in public. Pot clubs please?
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Katie Shapiro is a Colorado-based cannabis and style writer. She slings indie film on the side as a producer and publicist. Follow her around the high country and the film festival circuit: @kshapiromedia.