Cannabis is legal in Canada, but while you may be familiar with the rules and regulations regarding responsible use of marijuana, what about your manners?
There are long-standing social norms for things like attending parties, smoking cigarettes, and drinking alcohol. But the pot presents a new frontier for many people who will encounter cannabis in social situations for the first time in the days and months to come.
Hamilton’s Reena Rampersad is the founder of the High Society Supper Club, a catering company that helps people host fancy dinners or events featuring cannabis infused foods.
She provided CBC News with insight into what to do in a variety of situations, from smoking circles to first dates.
Rampersad says the first thing to keep in mind when it comes to social cannabis use is to bring something to share.
âIt’s a very social thing and people aren’t afraid to share,â says Rampersad. “It’s what you do, you pull and pull and pass, but an unspoken nervous button for a lot of people isâ¦ mooch.”
So be sure to bring something of your own, of course keeping the 30 gram possession limit in mind.
Puff, puff, pass
Another rule to follow is the unofficial mantra of marijuana, according to Rampersad.
It’s not something that is always understood for novice cannabis users, she added, but a big part of the fun of the pot socially is being mindful of others.
Getting caught up in a conversation while the joint of your hand is burning can be a letdown for any social smoking circle.
âIt’s a no-no,â says Rampersad. âPuff, puff and pass it. Don’t be a con artist and always make sure you share. “
Be a good host and a better guest
If you’re inviting people to taste cannabis products, Rampersad suggests it’s polite to be prepared.
“When I have guests, I usually have pre-rolled joints. I’m happy to share these new varieties or crops with my friends.”
Unlike a party at a friend’s house where someone can feel comfortable pouring themselves a beer from the fridge, Rambersad says the host is usually the first person to light up, or that he will tell his friends to go ahead and start.
One thing to watch out for is to make sure that you don’t abuse a friend’s generosity. Much like that friend who never foots the tab at dinner, if you’re constantly relying on someone else to provide the cannabis, it’s probably time to contribute something on your end, she added.
Sharing is caring, unless you are sick
One of the only times legal cannabis use shouldn’t involve sharing is when someone is sick.
Rampersad says conscientious drinking means taking responsibility for your health and the well-being of others, even when you’re tempted to take it.
âIf you have a cold, keep your hoses, your joints, all that to yourself,â she explained. “Even if your friend has amazing stuff, it smells so good and they pass it around, don’t be selfish, do the responsible thing.”
Give support if you can, ask for it if you need it.
If you’re interested in trying the pot for the first time, come up with a positive attitude and put your guesswork aside, says Rampersad.
Don’t hesitate to ask someone more experienced if you have any doubts or concerns, chances are they are welcoming and eager to share advice.
As for the veteran cannabis user, part of their role should be to make sure everyone is having fun and feeling good.
âIt should be a sense of tacit responsibility that we carry with us as somewhat more experienced people,â she explained, adding that those who have âbeen around the blockâ should
Avoid potty peer pressure
Another thing to keep in mind, says Rampersad, is that as the cannabis goes around the circle, it can put a lot of pressure on it.
Novice consumers may feel compelled to participate, but those around them should make sure they feel comfortable saying “No”.
Rampersad says it’s also important to watch your friends, especially if their experience makes them uncomfortable or if they seem in danger or go too far.
âIf someone has anxiety, you don’t want to keep passing it on to them,â she explained. “Sometimes people will feel pressured to take the joint, or even a little under pressure from their peers and might take a whiff.”
And a first date?
With legalization, couples across Canada won’t have to fumble for a topic of conversation on a first date, cannabis is sure to make its appearance.
When it comes to pot, people tend to have strong opinions, so Rampersad says the best thing to do is to be clear with your partner on a few basic points.
What are you smoking? How many times? What was your reaction ?
Rampersad says cleaning the air ahead of time can save a couple from some difficult topics later and start a relationship on the right foot.
Finally: take a deep breath
âRelax and enjoy the experience,â says Rampersad. âYour friends are there to help if you need it, but if you take care of your body you should be fine.