It’s no secret that the cannabis community has a way of advertising its herb-friendly ways without being super overt about it. That’s great when you’re trying to find fellow enthusiasts at a networking mixer or when you move to a new town and need a fresh group of friends. But it’s not so great when you’re dating.
Terms like “420-friendly” and “cannabis consumer” are certainly helpful, but they don’t really tell you to what extent cannabis is a part of a person’s life, how they use it, or how you should behave when you encounter them in the wild.
Dating has never really been my thing, but I wasn’t exactly looking for a husband so matchmaking services are a little too much. I bit the bullet and jumped on the dating app train. I figured, worst case scenario, I’d meet a fellow cannabis enthusiast and we’d have a pleasant sesh.
I learned that sometimes even a deep conversation over cannabis isn’t worth the swiping and meaningless chit-chat. For someone who hates making small talk, Bumble, Tinder, and my 420-friendliness made for an eye-roll-inducing combo that presented a seemingly endless stream of stoners and men who were “curious” and wanted me to teach them all about it.
Let me be clear — I’m not what most people would consider a pothead. I’m a professional with a successful career and adult responsibilities. I’m also highly academic person and spend most of my day reading, writing or talking about science, legislation, culture, and education in the cannabis landscape.
I think it would be a stretch to compare me with this:
Enter candidate 1. We’ll call him “Sam” because I don’t remember his real name. The only thing we had in common was that we both were cool with the ganja. That was fine. Not everyone is going to be a winner. We smoked a joint talked about life, he brought up politics and I politely took my leave.
Fast forward through candidates 2 through 10 — there was the guy who was super distraught about life and “just really wanted to be held” after smoking a potent jay rolled by yours truly, the guy who wanted so badly to date a “hot weed chick” that he would have gone to any length to see me as long as he didn’t have to remember any personal details about my life, the guy who proceeded to (incorrectly) psychoanalyze my past and decided I used weed as a crutch to “not feel anything” (after I rejected him) … sigh.
To be fair, I did meet a couple of really cool people and we still talk. But the ratio of swipes-to-meaningful connections is absurdly low. Cannabis-specific dating apps out there for the curious weed-lovers-looking-for-love exist. The reviews are less than stellar — most reviewers cite a limited user base and outdated or ineffective technology.
For those who want to up the ante and pay to have someone else do the work, Highly Devoted offers canna-friendly coaching and matchmaking services. I took some time to chat with Executive Matchmaker and founder Molly Peckler to get her view on the canna-dating landscape.
Highly Devoted is the “amalgamation of all my experience,” Molly said. She came up in the non-cannabis matchmaking world and built a solid reputation when it came to helping people find meaningful connections and establish strong, lasting relationships. She saw a gap in the matchmaking market — nobody was catering to cannabis consumers.
“There’s so much stigma and judgment when it comes to cannabis, especially when it comes to dating,” she said. “There’s so many images that don’t apply, like the lazy stoner stereotype. That’s just not the case. I wanted to service my favorite community and offer a service nobody else was offering.”
Cannabis can provide an elevated shared experience. It’s a great way to connect, she said. In fact, when she and her husband were getting to know each other, cannabis was a key component in building a deeper connection.
“Consume before a date, have a great meal and geek out on the food, or partake during sexy time. There are so many ways [cannabis]can help.”
In her experience, the biggest challenge cannabis consumers encounter in the dating landscape is finding someone who “gets” them. Her clients are professionals and highly functioning members of society who also consume — a demographic that’s underserved by dating apps and traditional matchmaking services.
The second biggest challenge is that people generally don’t know what they need in a partner. They haven’t set those parameters, so finding a compatible match is like walking in the dark. The value of a matchmaking service is having someone coach you through deciding what you want in a partner. It’s easier in states where cannabis is legal, of course, thanks to industry events and mixers, but that landscape is still “very masculine and stoner-centric.”
Having attended a couple of those events myself, I can say, she’s right. But it’s a work in progress that’s light years ahead of prohibition states, where users are forced to seek a significant other underground. Her client base is nationwide, so she gets a bird’s eye view on cannabis-friendly dating in the United States to which many in the matchmaking business are not privy.
We have a long way to go to undo the cannabis stigma and remove stereotypes that make people view consumers in a negative light. Molly is doing her part by trying to create more “cannabis power couples” to show the world that weed can greatly enhance the depth of personal connections in relationships — an admirable goal, to be sure.
Until you’re ready to take the leap and enlist the service of a professional like Molly, it seems the best method for finding the good stuff is the same as finding weed pre-legalization — asking “that one friend who knows what’s up” to make an introduction and see where it goes from there.