Smoking a J in your college class: Cool or nah?


Welcome to the first week of college 2020, students. In this surreal world of ours, a few classes are meeting in meatspace, while most students are forced to obtain their college knowledge through smeary laptop monitors. The Boomers had Woodstock. Gen X had Lollapalooza. The Zoom class has become this generation’s bonding event. Sorry about that.

But you’re carrying on, tuning in, and taking notes. And already we have a question of etiquette!

Chris Belcher, a professor of gender studies at the University of Southern California, posted this question on Twitter earlier today.

Today in professoring, a student is visibly smoking a joint in my large lecture course. Ideas on how to address this welcome. Is it fine? Maybe it’s fine

— Chris B (@chris_belcher) September 1, 2020

The response: a flood of answers. Everyone from Roxane Gay to Seth Rogen chimed in.

Am I the asshole for inhaling deeply in class? The consensus seems clear. If you’re in meatspace, take it the fuck outside, pal. Secondhand smoke ain’t cool for anyone, especially those with medical conditions you may be aggravating.

No ma’am this is not fine! Not in public and definitely not around other people who may have medical issues. I say kick the ass out the class until they can do better!

— daisha (@lotus12_beau21) September 1, 2020

If this is a Zoom panel situation, blaze the hell away. It’s 2020. Self-care is job one. Seth Rogen couldn’t agree more.

Leafly’s own David Bienenstock contributed his well-earned wisdom as well.

If it’s online class, let it be.

If it’s in person, remind your student that they either need to bring enough to share with the rest of the class or leave it home.

— David Bienenstock (@pot_handbook) September 1, 2020

Many adopted a live-and-let-live attitude. Others raised objections about lowering the tone of class, implying a disrespect for other students in the class.

Disagree. There is a tone to every classroom. Lowering expectations is a disservice and makes learning harder for the rest of the class, many that worked REALLY hard to get there. Smoking weed is not the worst disruption but professors need to set a tone everyone is there to grow

— Seth (@DrSethMurray) September 1, 2020

Andrew Matranga, a media professor at the University of Denver who’s taught a number of courses on cannabis and journalism, is an old hand at this game. Relax, says he.

Oh for sure Zoom bong rips were a thing this spring in one of my classes and…it’ll be fine.

— Andrew Matranga | Brand Journalist/Media Professor (@andrewmatranga) September 1, 2020

Others wondered about what exactly should be expected in the virtual classroom. It should be a safe space for students of all races, genders, religions, and backgrounds. Does that include students who have embraced sobriety or struggle with addiction issues?

I do wonder about the value of sober spaces and for students who may need/want them.

— Charlene #Defund2AbolishPolice Carruthers (@CharleneCac) September 1, 2020

I’m going to give the final word to Anthea Butler, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

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