Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks to Post about her new book, “Higher Etiquette: A Guide to the World of Cannabis, from Dispensaries to Dinner Parties.”
By Lizzie Post
The Principles of Cannabis Etiquette
As an etiquette expert, I find that it can be easy to get trapped discussing negative behavior and how to fix it, especially when exploring new topics. Social media and tech (newer etiquette topics) can often feel that way. However, when exploring cannabis etiquette, respect, generosity, and gratitude were the three themes that came up most often, along with sharing. It was so encouraging to hear people excitedly talk about etiquette in a positive way. Rather than hearing complaints about rudeness and being offended, conversations focused on how to be aware and respectful of those around you. (So refreshing!)
Respect is deeply rooted in the cannabis community. There’s respect for the plant itself, respect for individual consumption preferences, as well as respect for identity, style, and language choices. There is respect for the culture as it has been, as well as for where it’s headed. In this community, we see and encourage respect for the choice to engage with cannabis whether you decide to or not. As the diverse cannabis community is being heard, we are increasingly aware that respect is a key component of the conversation around cannabis consumers and culture.
The generosity of the cannabis community comes from a collective understanding of how much cannabis helps people and how much it is enjoyed. Under cannabis prohibition, a consumer has to balance being generous with what little bud they have and need. More often than not, a person will choose to share the last of what they have—or at least share a hit or two—knowing what it can be like to go without. In a legalized culture with prevalent availability, this generosity doesn’t disappear. Instead, it expands. Cannabis hosts are able to offer a greater array to their guests and still stay within their personal budgets. Friends smoke each other up freely, without expecting that the favor should be returned. (Though it almost always is.)
The cannabis community feels gratitude toward both the plant itself and the freedom to engage with it. From the language people use and the care taken with proposed legislation to the exploration of cannabis science and medicine, cannabis supporters are grateful for the opportunity to make the plant and its possibilities available in a way that makes sense for communities.
Despite legalization, consumers still respect the generosity of the community with displays of gratitude. Even if you have a ton of product at home, a friend’s offer or gift of cannabis is often received with genuine appreciation. Even when the strain isn’t one the receiver enjoys or can use, interviewees for this book still said they were always grateful for any cannabis that was offered to them. Of course, some of these people have likely declined certain strains at one point or another. But when asked from an etiquette standpoint about the right thing to do, most recommended accepting the gift and thanking the giver even if they didn’t like it—the importance is placed on honoring the act of generosity.
People love to share. When something is good in your life, you talk about it and invite others to experience it. Much like sharing food or drink, a scenic view, or a song, sharing cannabis is something enthusiasts are drawn to do.
You can certainly engage with cannabis privately, but the shared experience is encouraged and appreciated. It is the sharing of cannabis that makes it a topic ripe for etiquette to explore.
For the past century, cannabis has been shared and consumed in “secret.” As legalization has taken place, cannabis lovers have been coming out of the canna-closet and sharing their methods, knowledge, and experiences. It’s a true cannabis renaissance! As we discover ways to absorb cannabis into the greater folds of American life, collectively we will establish good etiquette and identify the beneficial manners that will shape this higher etiquette of cannabis culture.
Reprinted with permission from Higher Etiquette: A Guide to the World of Cannabis, from Dispensaries to Dinner Parties by Lizzie Post, copyright © 2019. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Illustration credit: Sam Kalda © 2019
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.
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