When I began this project and started telling friends and family the subject matter, I received emphatic encouragement from many. For those who consume cannabis, weed etiquette is real, and it was high time someone wrote a book about it. Others had a harder time understanding the connection between pot and etiquette. To better bridge the gap, I’d like to introduce you to Emily Post etiquette and show you how it connects with the world of cannabis culture. Emily Post said, “Whenever two people come together and their behavior affects one another, you have etiquette. It is not some rigid code of manners.”
It was this attitude that has made Emily Post North America’s go-to source for etiquette advice for the past ninety-five years. With a hit 1930s radio program The Right Thing to Do, a best-selling book Etiquette (now in its nineteenth edition), and an ability to be both relatable and aspirational, Emily Post helped define American manners. Though Emily died in 1960, her practical and kind approach toward social graces has been carried on by her family through the Emily Post Institute. There, my cousin Daniel Post Senning and I are the fifth generation to run the company. Given Emily’s definition, it’s safe to say that cannabis culture is baked in etiquette, has been for a long time, and goes far beyond puff-puff-pass.
So what is etiquette? At the Emily Post Institute, we say that etiquette is made up of two things: manners and principles. Manners are fascinating. They are the actions, words, and expectations that we create as a society for interacting with one another. Manners help us to know what is expected from us and what we can expect from others in a given situation. Manners can be good or bad. They are specific to periods of time, and they vary by country, by culture, and even by social group or family. When changes occur in a culture (like the legalization of cannabis), new manners emerge, and others become traditions of the past or obsolete. Principles are reassuring. They are the concepts that can help guide us toward good interactions when there are no specific manners.
The principles that we believe influence etiquette are consideration, respect, and honesty. When our intentions are based on these principles, even when things go badly, others can understand our good intent. These three principles can be applied to any situation in which you may find yourself. If you think about how the people in a given situation are affected (consideration), acknowledge the potential effects of possible solutions on those involved (respect), and choose to act in a way that genuinely benefits the most people in the situation (honesty), you’re likely going to find a solution that will solve the problem at hand as well as honor and build the relationships involved. In short: etiquette is about being aware of all the factors contributing to a situation and how the possible outcomes could impact each of the players. Good etiquette looks for the outcome that positively benefits the most people.
Copyright © 2019 by Lizzie Post. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.