A Comprehensive Guide to Cannabis Etiquette

By Justin Caffier on February 1, 2018

Though drugs carry the sordid and vulgar baggage of their production, transportation and sale with them from farm to table, one mustn’t ever use those unfortunate circumstances as an excuse for poor manners. Below, you’ll find a handy manners guide for purchasing, consuming and sharing cannabis, no matter its level of legality in your neck of the woods. 

With such an intimidating preponderance of ways to get high these days, even the most seasoned stoner might stumble into some social faux pas while partaking. And for the novice pothead or prodigal son who hasn’t smoked “grass” since the Summer of Love, modern customs and practices are only the more confounding. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of rules to follow while acquiring, distributing and using all manner of cannabis products. Whether you’re hitting shake from a tinner or dining on Michelin-star worthy THC-infused cuisine, we’ve got the rules to guide you through.

Purchase (Illegal)

- Accept that introductory rendezvous or texts are often required when sourcing a new dealer, and do not nag the intermediary party about subverting the dealer’s standard operating procedure. Conversely, never give your dealer’s number or address out to a friend without his or her prior consent.

- It’s always bad form to text or call with overt language that indicates you’re about to buy an illegal substance.

- Unless you’ve been given prior go ahead, do not blow up your dealer’s phone in the wee hours of the night. They’re a person who needs sleep too, so plan ahead next time.

- When meeting your dealer, be on time (even if he or she isn't) and have the cash ready to go.

- If entering the dealer’s residence for the purchase, go in alone unless he or she has already met and ok’d any tag-alongs.

- Never show up to your dealer’s place unannounced.

- If the dealer is coming to you, make the trip worth his or her time, and buy more than a skimpy little dimebag.

- Unless you’re buying in serious bulk, leave the haggling for the flea market.

- You are under no obligation to smoke with your dealer if he or she offers, especially if it’s coming out of your own purchase.

- If you are sold shit weed, and you will be at some point, you have no recourse other than to not buy from that source again.

- If you’re planning to partake in a group’s purchase, pitch in on funding it.

Purchase (Legal)

- When stopping by the dispensary, don’t forget your ID (and rec), and if you do forget it, don’t plead to be let in just this once without it anyway, even if you’re the most regular customer they’ve got.

- As amazing as the product may look, you’re not a photographer for High Times, so keep your phone and its camera in your pocket while in the shop.

- Feel free to ask the employees product-related questions. That’s what they’re there for. That said, try not to monopolize their time, especially if there are other customers waiting.

- I know they’re friendly, cute and maybe sometimes even a little flirty, but please don’t harass the budtenders. They’re at work, making sales and not trying to give you their number.

- Tipping budtenders is not mandatory like it is for their boozy counterparts, but if someone takes the time to delve into some chemistry, show you tons of merch or hook up a discount, you should probably throw some cash in the tip jar.

- It’s a store, not a hangout spot. Do your deal and skedaddle. And don’t even THINK about sparking up your recent acquisition anywhere near the premises.


- Pass joints, blunts, bowls, etc. clockwise.

- Though puff, puff, pass is the rule, feel free to take just one hit, rather than your allotted two, before handing to the next person.

- Don’t bogart, camp or otherwise hang on to the pot for too long.

- Be mindful of your saliva and try not to slobber all over whatever’s being passed around. And should you be the unfortunate recipient of some damp apparatus, be mature about it. Wipe it off, take your hit and move on without making a scene.

- Offer your guests hits of the green and do your best to cover bowls to preserve the green as long as possible.

- Call out last hits and cashed bowls. Try not to surprise someone in the rotation with nothing but scorched earth.

- When handing your vape pen to a first-time user, be sure to tell them what buttons, triggers or switches they’ll need to activate, if any, when pulling.

- When providing the bud, it’s your responsibility to refresh the bowl and properly break or grind nugs. If you’re a guest, don’t reload the bowl (or otherwise help yourself to someone’s weed) without consent.

- Make sure to clear your smoke from the chamber before passing the pipe on to the next person.

- When smoking in a crowd where sparking up might be appropriate, such as a concert, you needn’t ask permission of your neighbors. However, if you’re so packed together that you’re getting secondhand smoke in their faces, you should probably offer a courtesy hit anyway.


- Exhale smoke and vapor away from others. When in a crowd, aim the plume upward.

- Though the act may sometimes lead to it, someone agreeing to receive a shotgun of your smoke is not an open invitation to make out with them. Read the room.

- Respect edibles and learn what dosage works for you. Never double down with more of an edible you think isn’t hitting. Furthermore, never peer pressure edible novices into taking more than they ought to.

- In fact, peer pressuring of any sort isn’t cool. If someone doesn’t want to smoke, so be it. That shouldn’t affect either of your abilities to have a good time together.

- Whether sharing or going solo, keep your smoking implements clean. You owe it to both yourself and your guests.


- Don’t spark up in someone else’s home or car without asking first. If they say no, don’t press the issue.

- Return the lighter.

- If you’re sick, don’t accept a communal smoke or share your own without explicitly warning others of the risk beforehand.

- With regards to someone’s glassware: You break it, you bought it.

- There is no need for anyone to ever lick the entirety of a joint’s exterior.

- There’s no shame in admitting you can’t roll joints for shit. Ask for help when you need it and practice in private (if you even care about improving at such a thing).

- If you are making edibles of your own and they will spend any amount of time in a common area, you absolutely MUST mark them, at least as “special,” so as not to accidentally dose someone.

- Don’t blow smoke in your or someone else’s pet’s face, dickhead.

- Be aware of your surroundings: Never be so flagrant with your smoking that someone is forced to come over and reprimand you. Even where legal, blowing big clouds in an inappropriate setting is not cool and reinforces shitty stereotypes.

As with any recreational drug, make sure cannabis is there to enhance your good time, not to act as the sole source of it. It should also go without saying that the manners and niceties of the non-drug arena remain in play alongside these more specific rules. Don’t forget the magic words you were taught at a young age. “Please,” “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” “excuse me,” and “I’m sorry” are just as appropriate and impactful during a late-night Rick & Morty binge as they are at prep school.

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