Stoner Gatekeeping Needs To Stop

“yOu DidN’t iNhAle” “SmOke LiKe a giRL” “bAbY LuNgS”
Courtesy Liz Whiting

Have you been personally victimized by a weed shamer?

You know, someone who says you’re not a “real stoner” because of what you smoke, how you smoke, or how much you smoke? 

They might claim to LOVE weed, and even have a username like @big_rips420… but for some reason they still take time out of their day to let you know – YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. 

Behavior like this is more annoying than losing your lighter. And it contradicts the spirit and nature of the very plant we love.

Look – everyone has different reasons for including weed in their lives. Some use it for medical reasons, some use it to relax and some use it to get blasted to the moon.

But not every stoner has a top shelf budget or superior rolling skills.

They might not even have full legal access to weed yet!

I’m a Marylander and we only JUST went legal – it’s not even in effect yet. I’ve experienced “dry spells” and bought weed from my relative’s high school dealer. You got what you got. 

When I moved to a fully legal state I had access to everything. But this elite form of cannabis consumption isn’t available to everyone. 

So how are you going to sit there and judge others when we’re supposed to be a community? We’re already judged by everyone else, half the country isn’t legal and budgets are tighter than ever. We can be more productive with open conversations and education. Such a good excuse to sesh! 

At a time when everything is kind of fucking crazy, weed is the one thing we can unite on. It’s time to be a weed snob instead. 

Shaming and Snobbery 

Great weed and experiences around it are exceptional. Stoners can become a bit evangelical. So many people have talked about how bad weed is for so long. Once you realize it was a bunch of bullshit propaganda, it’s hard to shut up.  

But with great power (weed) comes great responsibility. A weed snob has a mission to elevate and educate. 

Weed snobs want the best product and experience. They’re flavor chasing, asking for the freshest flower and their nose knows. They want others to have the best experience, too. Weed shaming takes responsibility away from providers and their role of providing the best product. If anyone should be shamed, it should be the people selling boof. 


Gatekeeping doesn’t always come from a bad place, either. Legal weed is a new industry that attracts bad actors. Many have been burned in the past from bad people and products. They’re looking out for their community. But concerns about safety or experience while well intentioned can be poorly executed.

Recently, products like Delta 8, HHC, THC-O and bunk CBD have flooded the market. There’s been a crazy lack of oversight and education. On top of that, slow and confusing policy has allowed for a lot of grey area activity since the 2018 Farm Bill passed.

Even the recent DEA classification of Delta 8 THCO and Delta 9 THCO have left people confused as to what will ultimately be enforced. 

Many have questioned the sourcing, testing and overall safety and transparency of these products. Especially since they can be sold online and in gas stations. On the other hand, many people in fully illegal states have enjoyed what access they can get. 

Safety concerns are very real and legitimate to raise. But respectfully so.


Some comments I’ve been personally left online are batshit.

“If you don’t have anything nice to say …”

Look – weed is supposed to be fun and make people feel good! Shaming others based on how they smoke or how much isn’t productive.

While 88% of people are all for medical and recreational cannabis, there’s still a stigma around the plant and those who use it. Sasha aka Silenced Hippie has been sharing her stoney adventures online for years. She still gets hateful comments from within the community about her consumption. 

And did you know 1 in 10 adults still believe weed should not be legal at all. Beyond disparaging each other within the community, imagine the comments left online by those outside of it. If we can’t be united on the most basic human level, how will we ever achieve broader progress?  


Read the national room.

Only 21 states have fully legalized weed. California is one of the weed capitals of the world. But 56% of the Golden State’s cities and counties don’t allow any type of cannabis business. Out-of-staters envision a dispensary on every corner. In reality 61% of Cali’s cities and counties don’t allow any retail. Over half the “Weed Mecca” state doesn’t have legal access to cannabis or places to purchase it in.


Access isn’t limited to physical stores and delivery services. Have you seen the price of top shelf weed in legal states? Without tax, you’re already looking at $60-$80 eighths of weed. For some, that’s an entire week of groceries. 

There are multiple fees you could be looking at depending how and where you buy your weed. There’s a 15% retail tax in California. And a few cities have a tax on top of that. Some delivery services have $300 minimums. Knowing how to find quality weed at great prices is a skill. It takes a lot of research, trial and error. Especially as everyone is still finding their footing in developing markets. 


And that’s just one of many ways weed can be intimidating. 

Many of us and our parents grew up in the world of D.A.R.E. and Reefer Madness. It took a lot of unlearning to realize cannabis wasn’t the Devil’s Lettuce. 

Not only could it be fun – it could help heal. 

“As a content creator, negative comments and critiques are common — but the complaint I get the most is that I ‘don’t inhale.’ Not only has this myth been debunked, it’s also a bit immature. Besides, there’s no “wrong” way to medicate. I don’t let it get to me because people will always have something to complain about.” – Ariana Rothwell / @indicawife

Everyone smokes differently! Some people don’t even smoke. I’ll never forget being made fun of for not knowing how to use a bong or roll a proper joint. It made me feel so embarrassed and scared to ask questions. When someone finally showed me how to pull a bowl and get the filter to stay in, it changed my entire perspective. And ultimately allowed me to have a better experience. 

But that could only have happened with open communication and a space that felt safe to have that in. 

Instead of judgment and shame, we can educate each other respectfully and share how we prefer to consume and why. It’s personal to everyone! That’s the power of being a weed snob. 

That’s the power of weed! It’s universal, it can heal and can take so many beautiful forms. 

We have so much left to discover – why would we limit ourselves now?

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