Are you smoking and shopping for weed during the pandemic?

Published Sep 2, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / José Antonio Luque Olmedo

Depending on where you are in the world, you could currently be living under a total lockdown, or things might be slowly returning to normal as the numbers continue to dwindle downwards, but no matter where you might be, one thing remains the same, and that is the need to stay vigilant in our fight against COVID-19. To do this, we’re having to take special precautions that include things like wearing a mask, extra sanitization, and careful selection of the risks that we take by visiting different places.

Everyone faces some level of risk when they venture out into public, but cannabis consumers face odds that are stacked against them for a couple of different reasons. The first is that this new contagious illness impacts the lungs, which tends to be a weakness among smokers, and the second is that cannabis consumers and smokers or vapers, in general, tend to spark up at the first opportunity, which means removing our masks and handling something that ends up in our mouths.

The stress of spending time in public

These days, just running the simplest of errands for things like groceries can be anxiety-inducing, especially if you live in an area that is enforcing mask policies. Social distancing protocols are starting to feel cold, and even after months of navigating this new system, the lines and arrows are somehow still just as confusing as when you first noticed them in the early days of the pandemic. It’s crazy out there, so it makes sense that you’ll want to know how to do things as safely as possible.

Things that you should know

  1. Removing the mask and putting it back on can contaminate the materials.

When you finally get out of the store and decide it’s time for a joint, where are you? If you’re in between locations where mask-wearing is necessary, you’ll need to handle your mask to remove it. Then you’ll have to set it somewhere and then touch it again to put it back on, and by the time you’re done, you’ll have touched the material multiple times which could potentially contaminate it.

  1. Handling groceries, money, receipts, and bags equal to a whole lot of germ transfer.

Everything that you touch will at some point come into contact with someone else before it gets to you. Sometimes it’s in the factory or in the store as customers browse or as the shelves are stocked, and each time that happens germs linger on the surfaces.

  1. Touching your face or mouth is required to spread it, which is exactly how this particular virus circulates.

After you’ve touched everything from the seat on the bus to several different boxes of cereal to inspect the ingredients, your hands will have had the potential of coming into contact with germs from other people. If you don’t do anything between these hands-on transactions like smoking, vaping, or taking a couple of edibles, then those germs will make it into your mouth, which could put your health at risk.

How to stay safe

If you really want to play it safe, then this list of rules is a great place to start.

  1. Always wait until you get home to smoke.

  2. Make sure to thoroughly wash your hands before using cannabis.

  3. Properly dispose of the mask and avoid leaving it sitting on tables or other surfaces that may be contaminated.

A stoners guide to social distancing

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