Skeptics have derided the concept of cannabis-centric dating as just another CBD bone broth popsicle (i.e., a grass-fed gimmick that no one asked for), and I must admit that I was one of them. In 2019, why would cannabis enthusiasts need their own dating site? Weed has gone so mainstream these days that John Boehner is selling it. It’s sanctioned for medical or adult use in more than 30 states, the majority of Americans support legalization, the pernicious myths of prohibition have all mostly been dismantled, and America has evolved — right?
It turns out that reefer madness is alive and well, even in 2019, and lighting up can still negatively impact your love life. Even people who aren't personally opposed to cannabis will draw the line at dating someone who regularly consumes it: As one Reddit commenter said, “I'm pro-legalization, but I have no interest in getting high or dating someone who does.”
Apps like OKCupid (OKC) or Tinder seem 420-friendly — yet some Tinder users report that their matches decrease when they say something about using pot on their profiles. And though OKC is widely viewed as the most progressive dating app, even the OKCupid blog admits that for many, “Weed is a dating deal breaker.” In a survey of over one million OKCupid users between 2012 and 2017, a whopping 65 percent said their ideal partner had “smoked pot in the past, but no longer.” For an app that’s modern enough to offer 12 gender identity options, the amount of seemingly 420-unfriendly responses is surprising.
Data collected by the dating app Hinge shows that cannabis consumers struggle more on mainstream dating apps, and that Millennials and Gen Xers pay a price for being honest with potential matches about their cannabis use. After age 25, mentioning marijuana on your Hinge profile results in a 25 percent decrease in likes; if you’re over 40, a 35 percent decrease. These stats prompted Mashable to publish a cautionary article: “Over 25? Maybe Don't Admit You Smoke Weed in Your Dating Profile.”
Of course, you can call yourself “420 friendly” or use emojis in your profile to covertly signal your affection for cannabis, but speaking in code can reinforce the stigma around cannabis use as a shameful habit. And since the majority of American couples now meet online, creating a cannabis-friendly space online for romantic connection actually fulfills a need. There are dating apps for farmers, flat earthers and mullet admirers — why not pot smokers?
There are, however, several cannabis-centric dating sites already. 420 Singles bills itself as “Tinder for stoners,” whereas High There! aspires to be a social network and source of news and culture, as well as a space for single cannabis enthusiasts to meet. And if you’re sick of the swiping, there are now IRL events that cater to cannabis-friendly singles as well: “When I used to drink, there were a million bars and parties to meet over alcohol,” writes Jasmin Hupp, who founder Cannabis Conscious Speed Dating so that cannabis consumers could “create our own scene for a night.”
In Los Angeles, cannabis fans can congregate at “Oh L'Amour,” a series of “elevated events” assembled by multi-media agency High End Creatives and Highly Devoted, which bills itself as "the world's first cannabis-friendly matchmaking company.”
Molly Peckler, founder of Highly Devoted, says that some of her clients have had previous relationships end over cannabis. “While cannabis is just one of the tools we use to connect people, the people looking to work with Highly Devoted want to know that whoever I introduce them to, they won't be judged for enjoying cannabis,” Peckler told Civilized. “They've faced stigma in the past and they’re tired of hiding an important aspect of their life.” Highly Devoted now has clients around the globe, as well as a strong track record: “We define success as meeting someone you like, and 75 percent of our clients connect with someone who intrigues them,” she said.
The “Oh L'Amour” gathering I attended took place in Beverly Hills beside a rooftop pool, and was sponsored by luxe cannabis brands like Gold Flora and Défoncé. Yet, even in such a glamorous setting, the atmosphere was warm, low-key, and down-to-earth. While attendees were given color-coded bracelets that designated them as single, taken, or “it’s complicated,” there was no pushiness or pickup lines; it was simply a great party with a diverse group of friendly guests (plus high-end chocolates and CBD massage stations). “Our events provide a safe space for guests to deepen connections with friends and lovers alike,” said High End Creatives co-founder Valery Sepulveda. “Cannabis provides an easy conversation starter for both the connoisseur and the just canna-curious guest.”
“I've been to three or four of these ["Oh L'Amour"] parties, and I immediately sensed that bad decisions were way less part of the romantic equation,” said Donnell Alexander, author, journalist and co-host of the cannabis podcast WeedWeek. “Alcohol is available, yet the interactions felt less alcohol-driven. Stoners make bad romantic decisions, too, of course, but from what I've experienced so far, dating set-ups in which cannabis is a bond seem a short-cut to closeness.”
“I love the idea of a cannabis dating app,” said Emily McCarter, a Colorado-based cannabis advocate, content creator and co-founder of OkOk Creative. “In my experience, I’m just going to have more shared values with people who enjoy cannabis.”
Cannabis is getting paired with everything right now, from cooking, artmaking, and drag performances to wine tours, yoga classes, and sound baths. So why not dating apps, singles events, and matchmaking services? If weed can improve your pesto or your golf game or your collage-making, maybe it can do the same for your love life. Romance is never easy to find, but by looking for love within the cannabis culture, the search could get a little easier.
Jennifer Boeder is a content specialist at Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency. She writes about cannabis, music, politics, and culture. Her work has appeared in High Times, Cannabis Culture, The Weed Blog, Oxygen, She Knows, Chicagoist, Wonkette, and Cuepoint. She lives in Los Angeles.
Photos of "Oh L'Amour" courtesy of @interstellarimage