Folk Belief

Smokers’ Etiquette

– Folk Belief

“There are a lot of unofficial rules … well, let me rephrase.  There are a set of guidelines to consider when smoking in groups.  These guidelines are what I like to refer to as smokers’ etiquette.  The first and foremost rule is the puff puff pass.  When hitting a joint or blunt, the general rule is to take two hits and then pass.  You are usually expected to the pass to the left.  Sometimes, it is appropriate to take one hit, if you do not know the people you are smoking with very well.  Another rule is to avoid wetting the end of the joint or blunt.  This can be rather disgusting as no one wants to press their lips around your saliva.  It is common courtesy to not pass a bowl that you know is cashed.  Many people might take it offensively.  Of course this depends on where you are from, as on the east coast, for example, someone might be happy to be passed any bowl at all.  Usually, whoever supplies the weed gets to pack the bowl and take the first hit.  However, if the weed is rolled into a joint or a blunt, the roller usually gets to take the first hits.  Like I said, these are guidelines, and there is great variation in accepted etiquette depending upon where you are from.” (A.B.)

Informant Analysis:

“These guidelines are important because they ensure that everything runs smoothly without confusion.  The puff puff pass dynamic is important because if one person is taking six puffs, then everyone else will get less puffs overall.  It is necessary because it helps ensure that everyone gets as equally high as possible.  Passing to the left is a generally good principle because it eliminates any potential personal biases.  No one will get offended if the joint is always passed to the left.  You won’t have to play favorites this way.  Avoiding wetting the joint or blunt is a no-brainer.  The supplier of the weed will often get to smoke first, because, it is his/her weed.  He/she should have all rights to smoke first.  The roller has the right to first hits, however, because the craftsmanship of having rolled a nice joint is potentially of equal contribution to having providing the weed itself.  However, this is the most common example of grey area. Either way, these guidelines are here just to ensure a friendly smooth smoking session.  If they are broken, it is not a major deal, but for consistencies sake, they should be upheld as often as possible.” (A.B.)

Personal Analysis:

Smoking is almost always a group activity.  As a result, in order to facilitate the best possible smoking experience, one should ensure that everyone is treated fairly.  Sharing is a commonly accepted practice, and it should never be taken advantage of.  These informal rules have truly manifested themselves as a smokers’ guide to etiquette.  This is why, when smoking with new friends, it is important to relay how the group-share dynamic generally operates.  That way, there are never any questions or miscommunications.  It is truly fascinating to see how widespread some of these rules have become.  Anywhere in the US, people can be seen following the puff puff pass pattern. This has spread with the help of pop culture devices, such as music.  Alternative rock band Incubus, for example, in the song, Smoking the Herb Again, a lyric reads, “I have a friend, his name is Ted.  He has a problem going through his head.  He doesn’t know how to puff puff give, but I like him so I’ll teach him and I’ll let him live.”  This lyric truly embodies the folk belief and ritual.  Diffusion seems to have reared its head faster with smokers’ etiquette than with any other cannabis folk item, other than perhaps 420.

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