As a longtime cannabis enthusiast who is also the great-great-granddaughter of 20th-century manners matron Emily Post, Lizzie Post frequently fielded suggestions from friends and family over the years that she write a book on weed etiquette. But as states across the country legalized marijuana — thereby uplifting a historically underground culture and opening the doors for new types of stores, methods, scientific studies, and the like — the notion became less joke and more reality.
She was further encouraged by her cousin Daniel Post Senning, with whom she runs the Emily Post Institute in Burlington, Vermont. Founded by Emily back in 1946, the organization continues to update guides, produce webinars, host the Awesome Etiquette podcast, and run in-person training programs for businesspeople, children, and wedding professionals.
Then, out of the blue, a publisher contacted Lizzie, wondering if she could suggest potential authors for such a book. “She had no idea I smoked pot,” recalled Post of the agent’s email inquiry. “When I wrote back and said we’d be interested in writing that book, they thought that would be amazing.”
In a furious four months of reporting, Post visited medical and recreational dispensaries around the country, interviewing both experts and neophytes along the way. “I talked to growers and lawyers and yoga class teachers and scientists and all kinds of different people that I could get my hands on to broaden my understanding of legalized cannabis,” said Post, who found plenty of crossover with her family’s work. “The themes of the cannabis community did well with the themes of etiquette. It’s all about sharing and generosity and respecting people with where they’re at on cannabis.”
The research turned into Higher Etiquette: A Guide to the World of Cannabis, from Dispensaries to Dinner Parties, which was published by Ten Speed Press in March. The 164-page book covers basics, such as lingo, chemistry, and strains, and dives deeper into how to treat cannabis around work and children, techniques for entertaining, and session etiquette, including how to decline and what to do when you break something.
Post discovered that certain cannabis customs crossed the country. “Almost every person, no matter which method they used, they talked about not burning whole bowls and not bogarting joints,” she said. “Those are two of the most well-known cases of weed etiquette. That was everywhere.”
The increasingly popular edibles category gets deserved attention, as they now come in so many forms and potencies. “So often, safety supersedes etiquette,” explained Post. “It’s just like you wouldn’t offer someone a super-spicy hot habanero without warning them, or a mixed drink that has a ton of alcohol in it. You don’t just serve them a brownie and not let them know what’s in it.”
Post spent time with Philip Wolf of Cultivating Spirits, who curates cannabis dinners. He sets the table with bowl and flower on the left side of the plate, with lighters on the right side (for right-handers, at least); vapes could go anywhere, though the dessert fork space seems to work well. “I was geeking out,” said Post. “It was awesome etiquette at its best!”
Talking and treating cannabis around kids is another hot topic. The culture depends on each family right now, but more established etiquette rules may emerge in the years to come. “If it is legal, then it’s legal,” said Post. “It’s up to all of us as communities to be educating our kids. I don’t mean teaching them how to do it, but educating so that they are aware of it, so that they know the ups and the downs and they can keep themselves safe. It’s the same way we have them identify alcohol and poisons and chemicals under the sink. There’s a lot that we need to do, but hiding it isn’t the right way.”
What would Emily Post have thought about this new chapter of her legacy? Lizzie is pretty sure she’d support the book, especially since her great-great-grandmother was outspoken against Prohibition. “Though she never drank alcohol, Emily and her father both really, really believed in the government not infringing upon citizen’s rights,” said Lizzie. “I think she would have looked at this as citizen rights.”
Though very happy with the book, Post admits that this first edition is limited. “We really fast-tracked it, and there is definitely a lot more to explore,” she said. “But the cannabis industry and science are moving so quickly that it’s tough to take a lot of time on something like this. By the time it’s printed, it will be out of date. I’m hoping there will be many editions of this book to come as legalization spreads.”