For some pot smokers, it’s difficult to broach the topic of marijuana use with prospective romantic partners. Do you invite your date in for a nightcap and a toke? Or, maybe you casually offer him a hit of your vape pen on the way home from dinner.
Ryan Moxon of Marin County sought to find an answer to these dating conundrums. The 28-year-old entrepreneur aspired to make dating a more comfortable experience for those who enjoy a 4/20 lifestyle, when he created 420singles.net, a dating site for like-minded cannabis users.
Three years ago, Moxon found himself single. He had a profile up on Match.com, but it was deleted because he put down that he smoked pot. The self-described stoner searched for 4/20 dating sites and realized that no legitimate ones existed. Moxon hoped to rescue fellow singles from facing a similar fate and avoiding rejection that plagues many smokers, thus he created a site to cater to the cannabis crowd. Broke and eager for love, he saw a lucrative opportunity in building the niche dating site. After setting up the site and establishing a logo, he launched a campaign on Reddit. To his surprise, people slowly started to join the site.
The site’s membership is concentrated on the West Coast and has burgeoned since voters in Colorado and Washington state opted to legalize recreational marijuana sales in 2012. It’s expected that membership will be on the upswing, as voters in Alaska, Oregon and the Washington, D.C. gear up to vote on the issue this upcoming November.
With more than 23,000 members worldwide, many of them paying $10 for two months of premium membership, it’s no wonder Moxon attributes current legislation of marijuana for making smokers more comfortable with being open.
“It’s suddenly much cooler to come out as a toker,” Moxon said.
For an additional $5 monthly fee, premium members have the ability to search profiles by zip code. Premium members can also see who has viewed their profile and compose messages to other members. Most of the time people connect by leaving comments on another person’s profile page, instead of having to pay for the messaging. In addition, any member can reply to messages for free — a feature that likely appeals to the site’s younger crowd.
The dating site’s profile questionnaire makes it easy for singles to open up about their habitual smoking tendencies. One of the profile’s questions is “How much do you blaze?” Another is “Do you believe in UFOs?” It also prompts members to state which of the two main types of cannabis they prefer: indica or sativa.
Moxon said he has recently met with some potential investors and plans to use the money to boost membership in Colorado, where recreational cannabis smoking is legal.
The ArcView Group, a marijuana industry investment company based in San Francisco projected that legal pot sales alone are expected to reach $10 billion by 2018. Sales of cannabis-based products, from marijuana-infused lubricant to cannabis-laced health food products, are among items expected to skyrocket. With such high numbers expected, Moxon was able to parlay that into a $10,000 investment deal from the group.
The co-founder of a newer 4/20-based dating site did not encounter such fortune in the investing game.
Comcast’s Denver offices refused to air a commercial for My420mate.com, telling cofounder Jay Lindberg that it would not run ads for the marijuana industry. The proposed ad featured a friendly woman with blonde dreadlocks talking about finding connections with other like-minded singles through the website — a far cry from a Cheech & Chong promo.
“They recognize that they run way more risqué dating commercials, and this was a rather tame commercial compared to the other ones that they normally run,” Lindberg said.
The website, which launched several months ago has about 6,200 members according to its other founder, Miguel Lozano of Los Angeles.
Both sites have apps to appeal to users that value convenience at no cost. Reports reveal that most young people are turned off by dating sites that charge membership fees. In addition, IBISWorld, a market research firm predicted that the revenues generated by dating apps will double within the next five years. The current leaders of the dating app world are Grindr, a location-based dating app for gay men, and Tinder, an app with a similar concept, geared toward heterosexuals.
Lozano and Moxon are hopeful their sites will enter the realm of mainstream dating sites, reflecting the mounting number of legal cannabis dispensaries and related products.
Would you use a 4/20-friendly dating site? What would you include in your profile? Tell us in the comments.