Cannabis Etiquette for the Sophisticated Stoner

Cannabis culture isn’t new — but it might be new to you. If you waited patiently until pot became legal to try a toke, you might not know all that much about the conventions and customs stoners have developed through the decades. Unfortunately, that might mean that you are unintentionally being incredibly rude to your fellow stoners.

Fortunately, cannabis etiquette isn’t hard to learn. After you stock up at a newly opened New Jersey dispensary, here’s what you can do to be polite within your cannabis community.


The golden rule of cannabis etiquette is “Give unto others as you would have others give unto you.” If you have guests over and want to light up, the least you can do is offer your bowl to those around you. Some consider it good manners to offer your guests the first hit, but if they know a bit of weed etiquette themselves, they will likely courteously decline, as it is tradition for the owner of the weed to enjoy the first toke.

Don’t Waste

Cannabis is legal, but that doesn’t mean it is cheap. Waste is a horrible thing, especially with something as precious as weed, so you should do what you can to prevent needlessly ruining your reefer. Some specific tips to avoid squandering your stash include:

  • Corner the bowl. When you hit a bowl, you should ignite the smallest portion you can. This keeps more of the bowl fresher and full of THC for longer.
  • Handle with care. Bud is sticky because it is covered with cannabinoid-filled hairs called trichomes. If you handle your weed too much, those hairs break off, and your pot becomes much less potent.
  • Don’t stash and dash. Stashing and dashing is tossing out perfectly good weed because you are done with it. You should at least offer it to any guests, but you might also be able to save it for a later smoke.

Stay Healthy

Even before pandemic times, you probably wouldn’t be interested in sharing a bowl with a sick person. Now that illness has the potential to inflict long-term health effects, you definitely don’t want to share a pipe or bong when you are feeling under the weather. You should do what you can to keep healthy, and you should keep your smoking buddies healthy too by maintaining distance when you are ill.

Don’t Pucker

In a similar vein, you should take care with how you put your lips on any smoking implement. Some newbie stoners have a tendency to use fish lips, which not only looks strange but ensures that an inordinate amount of saliva is transferred to the mouthpiece. You want to keep your lips tense and your tongue pulled back when you smoke and share, and you can earn brownie points by wiping off the mouthpiece before passing.

Stay Informed

A common courtesy is telling your smoking pals what it is, exactly, that they are inhaling. At the very least, you should be able to let them know the strain, but it would be even more helpful if you can remember whether the strain is indica-dominant or sativa dominant, its cannabinoid content and perhaps even its terpene profile. Then, everyone will know what kind of high they are getting into.


One of the most passive-aggressive things a stoner can do is pass a rollie with an ashy, chalky end. Un-ashed joints and blunts taste terrible, and they are likely to leave unsightly droppings. Before you pass your rollie along, you should ash, so you can present a red-hot tip to your smoking friend.

Don’t Steal

Every stoner group has one miserly member, who never brings their own bud to a smoke session and never pays anyone back for the weed they consume. This person is tolerated, but rarely loved. To avoid being this person, you should remember to BYO stash when appropriate and always offer to pay for others’ pot when you partake of it.

Be Respectful

Cannabis culture has a foundation of compassion and acceptance. While you might be eager to partake, others around you might opt out — and it is incredibly important that you avoid the temptation to pressure them into getting high with you. If you respect their choices, they are more likely to respect yours.

Ultimately, cannabis etiquette is pretty simple: Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Whether that means sharing in your bounteous stash or staying away when you are sick, it doesn’t take much to behave acceptably in stoner circles.