Be Polite With Your Pot by Using Cannabis Etiquette

Let's talk about keeping our pot elbows off the table, shall we?

So, as I'm sure you're all aware, both Colorado and Washington state have passed laws that not only legalize marijuana for medical use, but also allow for the freedom of choice when it comes to recreational pot use. And when we zoom in on the other 48 states, the number of states that embrace medical cannabis -- 20, if you include Washington D.C. -- is even greater. The tide sure is a'changin'.

But with the mainstream acceptance of cannabis on the rise, there are bound to be a number of questions left unanswered. Voids left blank on who wins in the showdown between federal cannabis laws vs. state laws, and questions on the differences between decriminalization vs. legalization are all very valid discussion topics. And out of the ashes of those discussions, well past the practicalities of laws and fines, lies yet another question waiting to be answered: the question of pot etiquette.

Yes, pot etiquette. It's not a new subject, mind you. The rules of proper pot smoking have been around for ages, and have been passed along by underground smoke signals and carrier pigeons from one stoner group to the next.

The only problem is, now that cannabis use is legal in some of the country, all of these new, adult cannabis users are emerging from the woodwork with no clue on the proper ways to be polite with your pot. There's a gaping hole in the education system, and these manners, just like your table manners, are oh-so-important.

So, guys. It's time to teach the newbies the way of the world. Here are the guidelines on how to be polite with your pot. Don't say we never taught you anything.

Listen, pot rookie. Please do not try to be a big shot. Okay, so pot is legal where you live. It doesn't mean you need to consume it all at once just because it's available. Does one eat all the Twinkies simply because they are back on the shelves? (Don't answer that.)

Here's the thing. No one liked that kid in college who would drink himself into oblivion, and the same thing goes for cannabis. You wanna smoke? Cool. But please don't go the way of the frat boys and pot-shotgun yourself into outer space. You're an adult. Act like one.

So slow down, ease yourself in and mellow out. No one needs to hold your proverbial hair later. And perhaps step away from the bong. You're not ready for that now, or perhaps ever.

Remember that song that said, "Pass the dutchie to the left-hand side?" Download it and listen to it on repeat until you learn somethin', newbies. Clockwise. Always clockwise.

This one's for you, resident potheads. Specify what you're rollin' with. You know how you give a head's up to someone when you've mixed him or her a strong drink? Well, please apply the same reasoning to cannabis use. Not everyone in your circle is an experienced smoker, or vaper, or whatever, and it's not nice to accidentally knock their socks off.

Let them know if it's indica, or sativa, or some sketchy "Purple Haze-Green Mushroom-Alice in Wonderland" type of whatever. Everyone should be allowed to make an informed choice, right? So inform, homies. Inform.

Are those pot brownies? Oh, perhaps you should say something. It makes sense to label some food that contains weed, guys. You may know that it's been baked with shake, but when you place it on a table full of other THC-less foods, there's a good chance that no one will be the wiser.

While we appreciate your goodwill and your generosity, it's probably wise to warn sugar addicts that the brownies pack a little more punch than they think. We don't need anyone wolfing down three or four pot treats by accident. Make a little funny card to display, stand by the brownies and give verbal warning, or whatever. Just make sure the folks at the party know what they're in for.

Mary Jane may be your main thing, but it isn't for the dude next to you. Don't just light up because it's legal to do so. Seriously. It's the rudest thing ever to just light up in the middle of a party, or someone's house, or even the darned street. Seattle agrees, even with its lax cannabis laws. That city will fine you $27 for public smoking, and we're sure it's well worth it to keep that stuff to a minimum. You may be a pot fan, but that doesn't mean the folks surrounding you are. It's no different from just straight-up lighting a cigarette in public.

Want to smoke at a party? Check with your host, and then take your buns outside. It's the proper thing to do. And when in public, just don't do it at all. The mom walking with her kid shouldn't be forced to explain what that skunky perfume is. It can wait, the same way that beer can wait till you're in a bar or on your couch.

Table manners are useful in these situations. Mind your manners, and keep your elbows off the table. Some of those big-boy contraptions are expensive pieces of art, and we don't need your poor posture knocking them over. Besides, bong water really stinks and we can't imagine it's easy to get out of the expensive rug in your friend's adult pad after you've knocked the thing down.

Peer pressure isn't cool at 30, guys. It wasn't cool to call your friends out in high school for passing on the joint, and it's really not cool past that age, either. Smoking, if it's legal where you're at, is your right. You fought for that right, and you're given the opportunity to make your own decision. So don't call your buddy out for choosing not to smoke. Stuff like that gives the entire cannabis community a bad name.

And as always, sharing is caring. This is such a given, but it is worth repeating anyway. Have permission from your host, or in your own house? Well, remember to be polite and offer to share the wealth. And be patient with the new guys. They'll learn the clockwise pass eventually.

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