Weed is a fun gift to give, and even more fun to receive. If you get marijuana as a gift, especially in a public or group setting, you may wonder what the etiquette (and legality) is. This is, after all, new territory for most gift-giving Americans.
Whether you have given weed or received it this holiday season, there are things to know to make sure you do so legally, and without spoiling any holiday gathering or getting arrested.
With the continued legalization of recreational cannabis, the market for marijuana gifts and merchandise have exploded. There are holiday gift sets, unique packaging and even holiday-flavored edibles.
A poll conducted earlier this month by Jushi Holdings found that cannabis consumers 21 years and older in adult-use states overwhelmingly plan to consume cannabis as part of their holiday celebrations this season.
This means if you are a cannabis lover in a state where marijuana is legal, you are likely to find some form of THC under the tree this year. When you open this gift, the first thing you should understand is exactly what a “gift” is.
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Defining a “gift”
When you receive weed as a gift, it must be received without any anticipation of payment or compensation. “‘Gifting’ pot and then receiving payment later, or reciprocal ‘gifts’ of pot and items of value: illegal,” wrote the Boston Globe regarding its state’s marijuana laws.
This means if you receive a weed gift, you should not give your friend a card with 100 bucks in it. Although it may be an actual Christmas gift exchange, you should always be aware of how things can appear to an outsider. As a rule, don’t mix weed gifts and cash-related gifts whenever possible.
Read the room — and state laws
When someone gives you weed as a gift, it is understandable that your initial jubilance may give way to apprehension. Marijuana and its legality is a complicated and often stressful subject. Not only are laws often changing, but the laws themselves can be murky at times. This is particularly true when it comes to gifting marijuana.
In some places, like Washington D.C., “gifting” is one of the only legal ways to exchange marijuana from one person (or business) to another person. Other states, like Florida, have legalized medical marijuana but still have very strong penalties for marijuana possession outside of the medical realm.
Before you light up your recently received gift, be sure to know the laws. It may also benefit you to read the room and see who is around you. Even where marijuana is legal, it is always illegal for minors. If you are at a holiday gathering with minors, best practice is to save your gift for the after party, or for the privacy of your home.
Don’t feel obligated to partake in the moment
When you receive a gift, there is often an unspoken pressure to show your appreciation by using the gift right away. When it comes to weed, do not let yourself feel obligated. If the person who gave you weed wanted you to smoke with them, they should have brought enough for the two of you to enjoy.
“A pack of pre-rolls or some potent bud is thoughtful but don’t assume they’re going to smoke it on the spot. If you want to join your pal, bring extra,” wrote MedMen in regards to gifting weed.
When you receive weed as a gift, you don’t need to feel pressure; you only need to give thanks. Let the gift exchange only further the holiday cheer, and steer your sleigh away from legal gray areas so you can enjoy the rest of your holiday season without a trip to the courthouse.