women smoking joints

Marijuana Smoking Etiquette

By MK Thomson

November 27 2023

As the legalization of cannabis spreads, so does the need for a shared understanding of proper behavior when partaking in this communal experience. From the art of passing the joint gracefully to respecting personal boundaries, smoking marijuana should be a combination of respectful consideration and fun camaraderie. Whether partaking with other seasoned users or newbies exploring the plant’s effects, the unspoken dos and don’ts of this evolving culture serve as a guide for fostering a harmonious and enjoyable atmosphere among those who choose to partake.

women smoking joints

We call this marijuana etiquette. These are a set of guidelines on how to respect others when smoking with others, in public (where and when you can; we’ll go into partaking in public) or around people who don’t smoke or are uncomfortable with marijuana use – such as family members, roommates or co-workers. After all, smoking MJ is supposed to be an awesome experience!

Hosting marijuana smoking etiquette

When hosting a smoking session, or what is affectionately known as a “smoke sesh,” a thoughtful approach to etiquette can elevate the experience for your guests. Establishing clear guidelines is paramount, including where guests can smoke, the intricacies of passing the joint, and protocols for unforeseen circumstances.

  • Creating a calm and serene ambiance can further enhance the occasion. Try enveloping the space with mellow music (I recommend Pink Floyd!), softening the lighting, and introducing the flicker of candles, a host sets the stage for a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, encouraging guests to unwind. Just be sure to watch the candles! Make this a part of your “unforeseen circumstances” checklist in case one falls over. (Don’t overlook this – it actually happened to me once!)
  • However, despite detailed preparation, the unpredictable nature of any social scenario requires flexibility. Whether contending with an unexpectedly high individual in need of reassurance or accommodating an unanticipated guest unfamiliar with marijuana, adaptability is key in having a successful gathering, ensuring that everyone can roll with the punches and partake in the awesomeness. Make sure your guests know that if someone gets ‘too high’ they help the person get through it; they shouldn’t make fun of the person or do anything that might contribute the the southward direction of the gathering.
  • In the midst of the shared euphoria, don’t forget the snacks!. The addition of tasty treats and an ample supply of water can transform a casual gathering into a feast for the senses. The provisions don’t have to be super extravagant. From a plate of crisp veggies and dip to a refreshing fruit ensemble or even the classic combination of cheese and crackers, the key lies in offering something readily edible. Whether it’s a bowl of chips paired with dip, a playful assembly of Funyuns and Kool-Aid, or the remnants of last year’s Halloween candy stash, the emphasis is on accessibility and palatability. And really, the “higher” one becomes the less picky they become.
party snacks

Passing the joint

One of the most important rules of marijuana smoking etiquette is how to pass a joint or blunt. Here’s a humorous guide:

  • Don’t “Bogart” the joint! This means holding on to it for too long or taking more than two hits at a time. This comes from the amazing Humphrey Bogart who is almost always seen in movies, posters, and pop culture holding onto a cigarette. And. Never. Putting. It. Down! Remember, it’s not your personal stash. Share the ganja wealth! Pay particular attention the higher you get or the more into a conversation or music you may be getting.
  • Ash before you pass. No one wants to take a hit on a joint that’s full of ash – it’s actually kind of rude. A tip with ashing: hold the joint at an angle in the ashtray and roll the extra ash off, rather than tapping it. If you tap too hard, you just might knock off the burning tip!
  • Most people pass to the left, but pass the direction you got the joint, and don’t skip people! Also, the higher you get, don’t forget to pass – see above about “Bogarting” the joint.
  • Coughing is going to happen, especially for newbies. Just be patient with those who are smoking and help them with some water or something to soothe their throat. If you are coughing yourself you may want to excuse yourself to be respectful to others. But no matter what – don’t cough all over the joint and cough into your elbow or tissue!
man holding marijuana joint

Tips for attendees

Don’t get too high. It’s important to be aware of your tolerance and to pace yourself. You don’t want to be “that guy” who wakes up naked with graffiti on your face and moreover, it is no fun to get so high you can’t even function.

  • Be respectful of other people’s property. Don’t drop ashes on the carpet or burn furniture. If you’re smoking in someone else’s home, be sure to clean up after yourself.
  • Don’t talk too loudly. It’s okay to chat and have fun, but there’s no need to shout. Remember, other people may be trying to sleep or relax.
  • Don’t be a slob. If you spill something, clean it up. If you break something, offer to replace it. Be a responsible adult, even if you are high.
spilled drink and crumbs from chips on a table

Smoking public (where you can!)

If you can smoke in public, be discreet and avoid drawing attention to yourself. NEVER smoke in front of children or people who may be uncomfortable with marijuana use. And be sure to dispose of your trash properly. Also remember there are many, many places where you absolutely cannot smoke in public. Always check before you light up – be 1500% sure you are smoking where you are allowed to.

two people smoking marijuana outdoors

Bonus tips

It might be wise to step back from the rotation for a moment if you: 

  • begin tasting things in color (get it?!); 
  • start scanning the room and faces because you no longer understand words; 
  • can’t recall when you last felt your arms or legs; or
  • can’t recall how long you have been holding the joint.

Marijuana smoking etiquette is important, but it doesn’t have to be super strict. Just remember to be respectful of others and always remember the golden rule for sharing a marijuana joint: puff, puff, pass! And have a great time!