Summer potiquette: smoke on the water

This post was originally published on this site

Courtesy of Lift Magazine

Consideration and kindness are perennial, with each season bringing its own unique challenges to those who would seek to consider and be kind to others. For those who enjoy the fragrant pleasures of cannabis consumption, summer months can be especially prone to friction when others nearby are opposed to or ruffled by cannabis.

Most of our readers have experienced some form of this dynamic. Picture the scene—you’re quietly enjoying some carrot sticks and hummus at the beach, then suddenly overrun by frat bros blasting Pitbull remixes.

Sure, you smile politely to the frat bros and say, “don’t sweat it eh,” as you take their poorly-aimed football out of your hummus, wipe it off, and toss it back to them. But in your mind you’re not polite. In your mind you are sweating it. You’re going to have to eat those carrot sticks plain, and that’s the same kind of friction that can be caused by firing up a stanky bat of Purple Kush without considering the space it will affect, and the people in that space.

Here are some helpful hints to step up your friction prevention game, so you can optimize social amity.

Image by Arup Malakar


The quintessential Canadian summer experience, camping goes hand-in-hand with cannabis. But many commercial campgrounds don’t leave a lot of room between tent lots, and some have communal areas. When sitting at a communal campfire it may seem redundant, in light of the billowing smoke from the fire, to ask if anyone minds if you puff a joint. But the simple courtesy of asking can sometimes make all the difference.

When looking for a site at a commercial campground, choosing a lot that’s more secluded or farther away from families might provide an odour-conscious smoker more mental elbow room. Also consider that in areas where there are commercial campgrounds, there are often less commercial camping options nearby too. Somewhere off the beaten path is usually going to provide a lot more privacy and airspace.

Image by Martin Cox

At the Beach

Very few people enjoy getting a sand-covered football in their bowl of hummus. Even fewer will tolerate Pitbull remixes. While most weed smokers delight in the rich aroma produced when smoking raw flowers, to some it can be the olfactory equivalent of a recycled synth hook from the bald-headed pop singer’s latest auditory assault.

Similar to camping, the most effective means of ensuring your enjoyment of the space doesn’t conflict with that of others is to choose a less populated area or an area farther from families with children.

If the beach is packed, taking a moment to ask nearby beach-goers if they mind you lighting up gives them an opportunity to express any allergies or concerns before potential friction or hostility is created. Remember that this is Canada—people are more likely to be offended that you weren’t polite enough to ask, than be offended by the smoke itself.

Image by Benson Lua

City Parks

Smoking (of any kind) is banned in city parks throughout most of Canada, but almost all jurisdictions allow vaping in parks. That doesn’t exempt the conscientious smoker, however, from employing consideration and common sense when choosing when and where to partake. Gone may be the days when pot smokers felt the need to be invisible, but subtle nuance hasn’t lost its place—if there’s a family serving their kids lunch at a picnic table, there may be a better place to sit than at the table next to them. If you expect the park to be well populated, bringing edibles may even be a better option than vaping.

Image by Wikipedia user Saupra1984

National and Provincial Parks

Much of what’s been covered above applies to provincial parks, but when hiking through provincial parks it’s especially important to be mindful of wildfires. Canadian parklands will continue to be more and more at risk of wildfires with every passing year, which makes it crucial to avoid smoking when “in the bush.”

Vaping is generally a fire-safe alternative (torch-fired dab rigs notwithstanding), and edibles are not only flame-free but also provide additional endocannabinoid stimulation that can help prevent muscle cramping on longer hikes.

Image by Garry Knight

At Home

Even without leaving the house, simply maintaining good relations with neighbours can be more difficult in the summertime, as the increased heat makes aromas more pronounced and the mild wind patterns allow odours to linger and sprawl. Indoor smokers can reduce the chance of this causing friction with neighbours by using anti-odour gel beads, and by being conscious of how the wind typically moves around your home.

If you live in an apartment, consider that any neighbours who have windows above yours will have your smoke go straight into their suite when the windows are open, and in the summer their windows are more likely to be open. To many cannabis non-smokers, that can be as unpleasant as when the same happens with cigarette smoke to a tobacco non-smoker.

General Tips

In almost any setting, vaping will produce less odour than smoking, and edibles will produce zero emissions during consumption. But for those who don’t enjoy vaping, don’t have access to edibles, or simply want to get the full range of cannabinoids from smoking raw flowers, some methods of consumption are less likely to cause friction than others.

One potentially aggravating factor when smoking a joint is that it’s not just you smoking the joint, it’s also the joint smoking itself. For five to ten minutes (or fifteen to twenty minutes for a large joint or a blunt) a constant stream of smoke is being produced. To someone nearby this isn’t just a simple waft on the wind, it’s something they have to put up with constantly until it stops.

When trying to minimize odour impact, smoking a few toots on a pipe or hauling back a massive bong rip can provide the same high, while creating a much more temporary odour window. This is doubly effective when out enjoying nature, as it’s usually easier to pack a bowl than to roll a doobie if there’s a breeze.

The central premise constant through all these suggestions is to simply be mindful of others. We don’t have to bend over backwards to appease others, but taking a moment for common courtesy and consideration is always a very Canadian thing to do.

Featured image by Steve Nicholson.

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