Spliff politics

Spliff politics is a method of etiquette practised among a communal group of cannabis smokers, and is followed by users of other drugs. In a communal group of smokers, spliff politics ensures that the responsibility of preparing the drug is spread around all the participants of the session as well as making sure all persons get an equal share of the drug.

Basic elements

Spliff politics is regional, and can vary from group to group, or country to country. For example, a user is likely to get much more deeply stoned from a blunt, than from a joint. Therefore, rolling the blunt is usually undertaken by a volunteer, whereas joint rolling is undertaken by all participants, in order.

There are some basic politics that most cultures observe. While smoking a blunt, it is often courteous to use the "puff, puff, pass" rule until the blunt is burned down to the roach, and is then often changed to one hit a piece until the blunt is gone. It is also commonplace to pass the smoking medium to the person sitting to one's left-hand side after use.


As is with card players, the joint or blunt is passed to the person sitting on the left of the passer (clockwise). If the joint/blunt has observed a full pass of the circle, it continues that way for the remainder of the session, if a person intentionally "cuts the line" and swaps chairs in favour of the joint coming his way early, or twice, they are usually subjected to a heavy onslaught of comments about cheating.

In the United Kingdom, some users employ a fair system to distribute the cannabis. In this situation, the joint holder shouts a pre-designated word, and anyone who wants the joint must be the first to reply with another predesignated word IE, Ping-pong, ying-yang, or any other double barrelled word.

The pecking order for consumption can also be resolved by a fair practice in which the people who put in to it, get the honours (1st, 2nd, 3rd etc). The order is very simple: Roller, cannabis, tobacco, papers, and in tight situations, even lighters have been used to resolve the chain of command of who goes before who.


Rollers Honours or Rights, is the practice of letting the roller consume the joint first. Rolling a joint/blunt can take as long as 5 minutes, and thus, is only fair that the person who made it gets to light, or 'spark' it up, consuming the very best part of it. The only way a smoker is able to consume the joint first, is if he rolls it.

Gear Honours, is practiced in some groups, but is not always followed. There are also a few sub-rules of Gear Honours, but these are relative to the participants of the smoking session. Gear Honours basically means, if you are the only person with Cannabis and are supplying the rest of the group, all smokers are obliged to pass you the joint/blunt when they have finished their tokes after Rollers Honours, meaning you will always get the second best part of the joint. If more than one person is supplying the group, or a sober person joins the group, Gear Honours is null and void (until all participants are inebriated).

If you are new to cannabis culture, you will find that most smokers are relaxed about how they enjoy cannabis together, and look out for their peers to make sure that they are all sharing the experience. However, it is also fairly common to meet "bad stoners", or those who will steal marijuana, hits from the cannabis, or even pipes, bongs, or other items, often because they were high and were not as apprehensive about stealing, or were hoping others forgot where their belongings were stored. Unfortunately, with all drugs, it is this minority that give Mary Jane a stigma.

In some circles it is understood that the person who rolled the blunt or joint gets the first hit. It is then up to another in the circle, or rotation, to call "backs", thus allowing that person the second hit and determining the direction of the rotation.

Quantity per User

The more people participating in a smoking session means more joints must be made to compensate for the numbers. As a general rule, 1 joint is good for 2 people. If the session is in the later stages, at the time where everyone is merrily high, 1 joint will suffice for 3 people. If quantities of cannabis are starting to get low, some groups prefer to have a fair system of consumption, employing a "two-toke" or "puff-puff" pass. If a participant is eager to get extremely inebriated, the two tokes can be held in the lungs until the joint is passed back to him, when he can then release (sometimes called 'Indians, or traffic lights), however this method does not produce anymore effect than to release the hit immediate after inhalation. This is because THC is absorbed in the body the first few seconds of inhalation into the lungs.In some areas of the [U.K] though they have a 3 toke pass rule as standard unless there are 3 or less people, this can be varied by the size or potency of the joint.


When participating in a group smoking session, it is imperative you do not hold onto the joint/blunt for too long. This is known as a 'Bogart' (after the iconic actor), and is the epitome of bad etiquette. The name derives from the sometimes long and drawn-out smoking style that was favoured by Bogart [ [http://www.1stmarijuanagrowerspage.com/marijuana-use-2.html Smoking Etiquette] ] . In regions of the United States this is also known as 'chiefing' or 'sleeping' or 'camping'.


Rolling a joint can for some, be a difficult and frustrating task, and requires plenty of practice to achieve a certain grade of quality and consistency time after time. The longer you smoke and the more you smoke, the better you will get. If someone rolls or passes you a duff joint (e.g, too tight, too loose, too wet, keeps going out) it is best to quietly mention the deplorability of the joint to the roller, so as to gently pressure them into getting it right in the future. If the roller persists in creating bad or useless joints, it is acceptable to ban this person from rolling anymore, their punishment being they don't get passed to until the end of a joint. The reverse is also true, being that if someone rolls a particularly nice joint, that lights first time, doesn't go out from start to finish, and creates a very nice high, it is a nice gesture to compliment them on their fine rolling abilities [ [http://uncletaz.com/marijuana/smoketiq.html more Smoking Etiquette] ] .

Share and Share Alike

A large majority of the people who consume Cannabis have suffered the side effects of the drug, and so it is polite to let someone use your facilities if you have them. The best way to think of it is, if you were in the same situation, you would appreciate someone extending the courtesy to you.The same share principles also extend to the ownership of the cannabis. It is common courtesy to share any cannabis you have with people you frequently smoke with, regardless of the financial side, i.e, asking people for money, and the favour should be returned. If done properly and fairly everyone over a long period ends up paying roughly the same amount and the same applies to the amount of cannabis consumed throughout the whole group.It is impolite to ask for money, let people offer to pay you for the cannabis, also let people offer you puffs on their spliff or blunt before you ask. If someone forgets a small amount of cannabis at a friends home, spliff politics determines the friend has the right to smoke it, depending on the amount, and never more then an eighth. If one forgets a larger quantity at a friends residence, the friend has a right to a small amount of that cannabis.



Further reading

*Sherri Cavan, "Hippies of the Haight" 1972; (from Web of Science , JSTOR, and Google Scholar)
*"Marihuana Users and Drug Subcultures" B. D. Johnson - 1973 - Wiley
*"The Marijuana Smokers" E. Goode - 1970 - Basic Books;
*"The Disreputable Pleasures" J. Hagan - 1977 - McGraw-Hill
* "The Black Candle" E. F. Murphy - 1973 - Coles Pub. Co.,
*(cite book|pages=140–141|id=ISBN 0973892803|title=James Bong's Ultimate SpyGuide to Marijuana|author=Arooka|publisher=Free World Press).
*(cite book|title=Criminal Behavior Systems: A Typology|author=Marshall Barron Clinard and Richard Quinney|date=1973|publisher=Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Incorporated|pages=104)
*(cite book|title=What's Going On? (in Modern Texas Folklore)|author=Francis Edward Abernethy|date=1976|publisher=Encino Press|pages=104–105)
*(cite book|title=Illegal Drug Markets: From Research to Prevention Policy|author=Mangai Natarajan and Michael Hough|pages=64–65|date=2000|publisher=Criminal Justice Press|id=ISBN 1881798259)
*(cite book|title=The Cultural/Subcultural Contexts of Marijuana Use at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century|author=Andrew Lang Golub|pages=29,57,71–72,94–95|date=2006|publisher=Haworth Press|id=ISBN 078903204X).

See also

* High Times Magazine
* Cannabis Culture Magazine
* 420 (cannabis culture)
* Smoking culture

External links

* [http://www.communitywiki.org/odd/Ganjapedia/Ganjapedia Ganjapedia] - The Cannabis Encyclopedia
* [http://marijuana.relately.com/wiki/Main_Page MarijuanaWiki, the "Sticky Wiki"]
* [http://www.e-stoned.com/cat/10-Just-for-Laughs/ "Stoned" culture icons, info and humor]

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