Emily Post’s great-great-granddaughter wrote a book about cannabis etiquette — a thing you never thought you’d need. Share All sharing options for: How to politely smoke weed. Lizzie Post is the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, the legendary etiquette expert responsible for sculpting the transactional courtesies of an entire generation of Americans. She’s also, in her words, a “classic stoner.” The 36-year-old co-president of the Emily Post Institute tells me she started smoking as a teenager and has been an on-and-off daily user since. In particular, Post enjoys the artistic touch it takes to roll joints, which fits right in line with her family’s tasteful legacy.
It’s one reason Post has long dreamed of publishing an etiquette guide to the subtle nuances of the cannabis community. But it wasn’t until the past decade or so that writing it made sense. Eleven states have officially legalized recreational cannabis, with Illinois joining last month in officially repudiating the longstanding federal prohibition on the plant. A recent poll published by BuzzFeed News showed that 84 percent of Americans favor legalizing cannabis for medical or recreational purposes. Post’s recently published guidebook, Higher Etiquette , reflects this national turning point. For weed-curious amateurs, the book serves as a life raft for the next time you’re not sure what to do when a joint makes its way around a party. For aficionados like Post, it offers guidance on how to comfortably introduce the plant to their less seasoned friends. Mannerisms aside, it’s impossible to read an etiquette book dedicated to cannabis culture as anything other than an argument for that culture’s dignity. Post is well aware of that, but Higher Etiquette does delve into some unexpected places. How does etiquette work with consumption that can still land you in jail?
How will it evolve alongside the byzantine network of laws that are slowly bringing cannabis into retail channels? You’re obviously fairly well-versed in the etiquette community. What made you want to take your knowledge to something like cannabis? As a longtime cannabis consumer, and being an expert in etiquette, people would always joke about me writing a book about cannabis. Eventually, I got an email from a woman who was an agent connected to a friend of mine, and she had a publisher who wanted to do a book on weed etiquette. She said, “I don’t think this is right for your brand,” but I raised my hand and said, “Right here!” I was off to Colorado to research and write the book. The fun thing is that the etiquette in the cannabis community existed for years and years. This is nothing the Emily Post Institute is declaring or making prescriptions about. This is exploring and celebrating a culture that’s finally able to talk about their courtesies legally and openly and without shame. There’s everything from drinkable cannabis to what you should expect from a cannabis cooking party. What was the process of chasing down the ins and outs of those norms? Honestly, it was talking to people who had experience with them, whether it was Warren Bobrow, who wrote the book Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics — which is cited in the [drinkables] section — or talking to the woman who runs White Rabbit High Tea [a business that hosts marijuana-infused high tea parties]. The guy on the plane next to me, the guy at the bar who’s just been to his first cannabis dinner party. You do what you can in the time you have, and you try to get a variety of voices telling you what’s going on. What are three basic rules of cannabis etiquette that everyone should know? The most important thing is the act of sharing cannabis is at the forefront of the entire community. So if you happen to be in a group of people, and you do have weed, and you are about to light something up, offering to share it with someone is pretty huge. Beyond that, it’s very specific to the different methods, but making sure you’re not holding on to something that is burning, or that you’re wasting weed. Marijuana samples are shown during the fourth annual New England Cannabis Convention in Boston on March 25, 2018. Third, not getting rid of something before asking everyone if they’d like the rest of it. I might think a joint is done at a quarter-inch of the filter, but I’ve got buddies who’d think chucking that was a cardinal sin. I would also say, right up there with finishing it is when you’re starting [a joint]. What are some of the differences in etiquette between smoking cannabis and edibles or vaping? Inhaling and vaping has a much faster activation time than edibles, which is going to be completely dependent on your metabolism. If I eat an edible, I’m often not high for three or four hours. Definitely one of the biggest differences in etiquette is just knowing what you’re going to experience.
I’ve had edibles with people and have been like, “Just so you know, as soon as we’re done hanging out, that’s when the high is going to kick in.” Was there a moment when you were writing this book where some of your own perspectives on cannabis etiquette were subverted in any way? I learned a lot about the history of the word “marijuana.” Just the fact that people have differing views on whether that’s an okay word or not. I spoke to a lot of people who thought it wasn’t an okay word, and then other people who wanted to reclaim it and the culture it comes from. You’re getting these disparate perspectives on individual aspects. I bristle when I hear that word used in government or science. I feel like it’d be better to use the more scientific or Latin terminology. The big thing was how much people love this plant and want to be respected around using it. Are there any other terms we should be careful using?
The reasoning I’ve been given is that in the early 1900s, the term marijuana was purposely used to negatively associate it with the Latino community. Right now, I think we need to be aware of the controversy around it. I personally still call it weed or pot, but when I’m trying to speak publicly, I use the word cannabis. We also say in the book that a lot of growers don’t like the term weed, because the definition of “weed” is an unwanted plant.