Ask a Budtender: What Is Proper 420 Pandemic Etiquette?

April 20, 2022 08:00 am ET
Ask a Budtender: What Is Proper 420 Pandemic Etiquette?

Question: I’m so excited that 4/20 is coming up, but I’m nervous to go to our neighborhood’s 4/20 party. I’ve barely been out of the house these past 2 years, so I’m not sure what the “stoner rules” are nowadays, especially since we’re in a pandemic. I’m worried I will accidentally cause someone to feel uncomfortable or break some obvious social rule. Do people still smoke in smoke circles anymore? What advice do you have for me to have a good 4/20 while also being mindful and respectful of COVID?

Cannabis Coach Haley’s Answer: Happy 4/20! While COVID is still a global concern, at least it feels like 2022 is slowly looking up. Many restrictions have been lifted, vaccines and therapeutics are available, and it feels like life might return to some form of normalcy this summer. But I know what you mean: With this strange in-between time we’re living in, many of us are confused about how to re-enter our normal circles!

So, how can we have fun this 4/20 without worrying too much and still being mindful of COVID? Is there a way we can celebrate in a way that feels good for us all? I’ve been thinking about this too and have some ideas for you.

Be Mindful and Come Prepared

This 4/20, it’s important to remember that we all have varying levels of comfortability when it comes to COVID. What may have been your experience the past two years isn’t necessarily the experience others have had during the pandemic. I know this might sound obvious, but it’s worth remembering that we might have different viewpoints but can still be respectful of each other.

Some folks are totally ready for the pandemic to be over and want to forget all about it. Others may have suffered a loss or developed a health problem due to COVID, so they’re reluctant for things to “get back to normal” and mandates to be lifted.  Whatever your level of comfortability this 4/20, remember that no one has this all figured out—it’s a somewhat strange time for us all.

Most COVID mask mandates have been lifted for indoor spaces in the United States, but I’d still recommend bringing a mask with you when you head out for any 4/20 gathering. I also suggest bringing your vaccine card with you, especially if it’s a larger gathering, concert, or indoor event. It’s always a good idea to feel prepared!

If you’re the host of a large 4/20 gathering or party, try to go outside as much as possible or encourage folks to step outside for their smoke seshes. If hosting a gathering indoors, you can be mindful of Covid by opening a window or using a fan to keep the area well-ventilated for your guests. 

At the end of the day, we’re all responsible for ourselves, and if you aren’t feeling comfortable at a party or gathering, it’s best to speak up or find another environment where you do feel comfortable.

Bring Something for Everyone

I’m someone who absolutely loves sharing a joint with a group of friends in a smoke circle. When I attended a party or 4/20 event in the past, a group of us would eventually form a circle, and someone would take out a joint and light it for all of us to share. While this used to be something I loved, I personally no longer enjoy the thought of sharing a joint with 5+ other people due to the threat of COVID. 

If you go to a 4/20 party now, you may see folks still enjoying a smoke sesh with their friends, but many now prefer to keep it a small, close-knit circle to reduce their COVID risk. During this era, I suggest not hopping into a smoke circle unless you’re invited first. We all have different levels of comfortability, and it’s important to not judge those with differing viewpoints. Communication is key. 

If your friend group likes sharing joints in a smoke circle, but you aren’t comfortable with that idea, consider rolling “baby jays” for each of you to enjoy. Instead of rolling up one big fat blunt or joint, I now like to roll 5-8 small joints so that when a circle forms, we can all have our own little joint while still feeling the camaraderie of smoking in a circle together.

Another option for staying mindful of COVID is making a batch of edibles! You can turn to your inner Martha Stewart and whip up a batch of cannabis-infused brownies or cookies for your friends to enjoy. With this option, all of your friends can enjoy being high with you without the transmission risk that’s involved with sharing joints.

Another option for your 4/20/2022 is buying a package of cannabis-infused drinks to share. Nowadays, you can buy all kinds of THC beverages at the dispensary, including cannabis-infused sparkling water, juice, and coffee. I’ve seen these drinks at many parties and cookouts, and during the pandemic, many of my friends have quit drinking alcohol altogether in favor of these cannabis drinks.

PRO TIP: Remember that a typical cannabis edible takes 1-3 hours to kick in, while a cannabis drink or liquid will start kicking in within 15 minutes. Cannabis beverages are great for a 4/20 party because they kick in quicker than traditional edibles—you can get the party started right away!

Your Presence Is a Blessing

At the end of the day, I think it’s important to remember that the pandemic has been hard on us all. We all need a little light-hearted fun, whatever that might look like.

For some of us, a great 4/20 might be spending the night inside watching an old classic movie like “Half Baked” or “The Big Lebowski.” Others might be excited to just get out of the house to see an old friend or attend a cannabis event in our neighborhood.

Your best bet is to come prepared, relax, and remember that we’re all in this together. Most of us are just craving real human connection and quality time with our friends. Keep in mind that your presence is a blessing in and of itself. Hope you have a happy and safe 4/20!

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