This Manhattan Matchmaker Is Starting a Dating Site for Weed Smokers
Madison Margolin, for the Village Voice
Relationship guru Sandra Harmon loves “grass.” And she wishes the dozens of men she’s dated loved it, too. “There have been lots of times I’ve dated guys who don’t smoke,” says Harmon. “They look down on me. They grew up thinking pot is bad.” But now the 76-year-old matchmaking yenta has a solution: a dating site for stoners.
Inspired by hyper-targeted dating sites like JDate (for Jews) and FarmersOnly (for...farmers), Harmon’s goal is to carve out an online dating niche for medical-marijuana patients, recreational smokers, and those who may not regularly smoke, but are open to and curious about marijuana. The site is for everyone — gay or straight, young or old, those looking to hook up or to fall in love, anyone from anywhere, just as long as they give the “green” light.
Harmon expects to launch "M-Date" — the site’s working title — by the end of the summer. She says more than 100 people have already personally contacted her to sign up. The site will be hosted by a larger marijuana lifestyle website, WeedTV — a place to go for everything from political news about cannabis to a national directory of dispensaries.
While “M-Date” will be competing with other marijuana dating sites, such as the Los Angeles–based My420Mate, Harmon also plans to include a relationship blog, expert love advice, local meet-ups, seminars, and personal counseling for “M-Date” members from all over the country. In the site’s merchandise section, she plans to sell sex toys and weed paraphernalia.
According to a 2010 United Nations World Drug Report, between 119 million and 224 million adults around the globe used marijuana, including nearly 100 million from the United States. According to government surveys, more than 14 million Americans smoke marijuana on a regular basis. Combine those stats with the 33 percent of American couples who met online in 2014 — expected to rise to 70 percent by 2040 — and Harmon may have a recipe for success.
Harmon is the author of several books, including Getting To I Do and Staying Married and Loving It, and creator of the Web series The Love Judge, She's now a professional love, dating, sex, and relationship coach — perhaps not a surprising turn for a gal who came of age during the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Harmon later moved to Manhattan, where, after a short stint married to Larry Harmon — creator of Bozo the Clown — the boy-crazy Jewess fully embraced the 1960s swinger lifestyle. But Larry himself was a bozo, Harmon says, plus “he didn’t like that I smoked.”
Soon after her divorce, Harmon landed a job writing on The Dick Cavett Show, for which she ultimately won an Emmy in 1969. “When I became a writer, [marijuana] widened my focus,” says Harmon, who began smoking when she was eighteen. “It was that stimulus for me.” But even in the Sixties and Seventies, smoking marijuana wasn’t as widely accepted as it is now. Things are changing, says Harmon, ever since nearly half the country legalized medical marijuana — “people are becoming less judgmental.”
Still, even in a state like New York, where possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized and a limited medical law will go into effect next year, Harmon is shy about her use. She doesn’t like to explicitly mention it on her match.com and JDate profiles.
That’s where M-Date comes in. The site’s users won’t have to worry about awkwardly gauging their matches’ feelings about marijuana — they’ll already be speaking the same language, says Harmon. “It’s a shared camaraderie.”
"The whole movement and acceptance of marijuana has spawned a lot of events, [and] a lot of people meet at these events, so it's also prompting social interaction and connections," says Mark Bradley, founder of WeedTV, who says he's excited to partner with Harmon on the dating site. "Having an online version of it is really just an extension of where society is today."
Establishing that shared interest already gives matches an activity to enjoy together. “[Smoking marijuana] loosens you up so you’re not uptight in the beginning,” says Harmon, explaining that it heightens sensitivity and the desire to laugh, explore, and dine. “All of a sudden people enjoy music more,” says the enthusiast, “and there’s no question that the relaxation and good feelings that marijuana gives you make sex better.”
In fact, in a recent study, porn video sharing site PornHub found that “weed” was the most popular search term for its visitors, followed by “marijuana,” “pot,” “joint,” and “420.” The second most common word found in tandem with “weed,” after “smoking weed,” was “weed sex.” That’s right: smoking “grass” and getting ass may have more to do with each other than we ever thought.
But Harmon doesn’t advocate that everyone use marijuana. “If you’re going to get paranoid, don’t smoke,” she says. Her goal is merely to foster a dating community that is accepting of marijuana use.
“I wanted to do something special,” Harmon says of her dating site. “People who smoke marijuana also want love and sex and rock 'n' roll.” But most importantly, she adds, “nobody wants to feel judged.”
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