Pot Smoking Becoming Routine In DC
We had polished off dinner, tucked the kids into bed and cracked open a bottle of wine. Thatâ€™s when our guest pulled out a tiny change purse and took from it what my husband and I thought was a cigarette. It was actually a joint.
â€śThis is my nightcap,â€ť she announced, lighting up and inhaling in matter of milliseconds. â€śI hope you donâ€™t mind.â€ť
My husband is not categorically opposed to marijuana. But heâ€™s not particularly keen on someone partaking in our vacation rental, with another set of renters downstairs and our children installed nearby on a blow-up mattress, so he pecked back: â€śThat didnâ€™t sound like a question.â€ť
It was an awkward moment, quickly brushed aside by our collective desire to keep an agreeable evening relatively agreeable. But it led us to wonder â€” just what is the current etiquette on marijuana usage?
It turns out weâ€™re not the only ones asking. At a time when smoking marijuana is increasingly mainstream, legal and socially acceptable â€” a recent Quinnipiac poll showed that 51 percent of respondents believe it should be decriminalized â€” when and where to inhale is a question flummoxing regular smokers, part-time partakers and nonsmokers alike.
After all, cannabis is now legal for recreational use in Colorado and Washington state and technically legal â€” although not yet legally available â€” for medicinal use right here in the District.
A new challenge is figuring out how weâ€™re all supposed to navigate dinners, cocktail parties, barbecues and cross-generational family get-togethers as more people liken puffing on a joint to sipping a glass of wine, while others still consider it a malodorous habit thatâ€™s best done not at all, or at least far from our house.
Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and a smoker himself, says navigating the marijuana mores shouldnâ€™t, in theory, be that perplexing as long as smokers follow the cardinal rule: â€śDo not use cannabis in the presence of others who are not keen on it.â€ť
The challenging part, he said, is figuring out whoâ€™s keen.
Here in D.C., it is far from a partisan debate, something that both Republicans and Democrats struggle with. â€śItâ€™s a cross-party issue,â€ť said a 27-year-old aide to a GOP congressman who, like many interviewed for this story, preferred not to give her name, further highlighting peopleâ€™s discomfort with this subject. She says she smokes often at home, but does so without telling her ultraconservative, 50-something boss, her co-workers, or even many of her friends. â€śItâ€™s really hard to know how people stand on it.â€ť