Danie was the first user to chat with me on High There, the dating app for weed enthusiasts. She turns 19 in July (a Gemini) and messaged me first. She had just moved four miles from me and was “looking for some fellow stoner friends” and “someone to smoke and have good conversation with.” She was kind of young for me to date, but not too young for me to hit a bong with — solely in an act of solidarity with Generation Z, of course.
But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. For whatever reason, she stopped writing me. So I had to play the field. Next came Khalid, who was in Las Vegas over the weekend and was making a stop in L.A. before his flight home to Seattle. He told me he was “looking for high buddies” and wanted to hang out this morning, but despite my proclivity for weekend waking-and-baking, Monday mornings aren’t exactly ideal for that type of thing. That said, he was hot and seemed more sexually interested in me than Danie; unfortunately, he was super adamant about smoking during his layover/our date.
Maybe he’s just cheap, I thought, curious why someone traveling between three cities where recreational weed is legal would want to link up with other stoners in such a manner. Why not just hit a dispensary and enjoy your weed alone? It would have made much more sense if he’d been holed up in a prohibition state, craving weed and unsure of how to get any. Speaking for myself at least, that’s when I’d most need to see who was down to “smoke me out.”
Closer to home, though, surveying High There is like getting a database of all the super stoners in your area. And while I didn’t see anyone I knew on the app, it felt too close for comfort, like I was going to find my dad’s friends on there or something. Amid the changing landscape of cannabis as both an industry and a culture — where weed companies insist on using words like “empower” and “enliven” to market their products (as opposed to “high” and “stoned”) — High There is a nice reminder of more traditional stoner tropes, like dudes who smoke blunts and take dabs in their garage all day and are down to share with you.
High There CEO Darren Roberts created High There three years ago and calls the app an “environment platform,” where users can indicate what kind of weed they like (indica, sativa, CBD-dominant, etc.) and how they like to consume it (smoking, vaping, edibles, etc.). “Cannabis plays an important role in the lives of many people, but [when we started], there wasn’t a community that enabled people to connect without stigma or judgment, whether someone had turned to medical marijuana or was a recreational user,” Roberts explains. “We’ve had thousands upon thousands of relationships and a few High There marriages. Overall, more than 600,000 people have downloaded High There, and 2.4 million friend requests are sent on the app every month.”
He’s seen the user base grow steadily despite a security expert telling Business Insider in 2016, “You could not write a better tool for arresting people than this.” (Roberts says like all apps, High There has since changed its technology a number of times, and thus, addressed the issue).
Personally, Roberts, who’s been married for 17 years, uses High There to connect with new friends. “It’s about creating an environment where people can connect, whether they consume every day or they’re just curious about marijuana,” he explains. “We have a big rollout coming this fall where we’re going be bringing the community outside of the technology in a series of High There meetups in cities like L.A.”
I’m more interested in attending these events than I am in continuing to use the app on my own, chiefly because I suspect there will be copious amounts of free weed there. But even though a stoned single’s mixer sounds way better than a not-stoned single’s mixer, all this talk of friendship and “smoking buddies” has mostly convinced me I’m better off on my own. Because while having stoned sex with a stranger doesn’t sound so bad, participating in stoned small talk with a bunch of stoners who now know where I live does.