Three years ago, CEO and cofounder of High There! Darren Roberts noticed a void in the cannabis community. He wanted to design a safe space for weed enthusiasts and medical marijuana patients to meet and connect without fear or stigma. Using technology, Roberts and his partner, Kenny Frisman, created High There! to bridge the gap. Simply tell the app what mood you’re in, what method of consumption you prefer, and your energy preferences. Swipe “High there!” if you’re interested, or “Bye there!” if you’re not. Find a match, mingle with a new friend, and see where the next smoke sesh takes you. It’s as simple as that.
And, it’s working. Meaningful connections are being made every day thanks to Roberts and his team. MERRY JANE caught up with the Cupid of Cannabis to find out exactly how deep his arrows pierce.
MERRY JANE: When did you have the “aha! moment” to create a global social network for the cannabis community?
Darren Roberts: Really, it came from knowing people in my life who consumed cannabis, both recreationally and especially medicinally, who were looking for a place to meet others with similar interests. Before High There!, technology where cannabis consumers could connect with each other without stigma didn’t exist. High There! solves this problem. I knew we were on to something and were creating huge value when a couple came up to us at a recent event to share the story of how they met via High There! Turns out, they are getting married this summer.
How’s feedback been from users and the cannabis community?
We’ve been so gratified to see almost half a million people from across the globe download our app. There is a need within the cannabis community to connect with others. We are thrilled that High There! has provided a platform for that.
How can users define preferences for their match?
Currently, you can customize it by how and what you like to consume, your energy levels, and what you like to do when you consume.
What High There! looks like in action. Image via High There!
Valentine’s Day is upon us. What’s in store for High There! users this V-Day?
We are really excited about what’s to come for High There! over the next few weeks. We’ll be rolling out a whole suite of updates, allowing our users to get to know each other better. In addition to an updated design, we’ll be adding photo and video sharing within the chat feature, so users can share all facets of their lives with each other.
Some people are shy to try online and app-based dating, for various reasons. Yet, it’s not just for dating and it seems many find the process truly rewarding. What do you say to those who are hesitant to give it a whirl?
What we’ve seen on our app is people connecting on a deep level. Cannabis consumers on the app have linked up for dating, for sure. We have High There! couples who are living together and getting married. There are countless people who’ve met for other reasons as well, such as cancer patients looking for support and soldiers with PTSD who medicate with cannabis. They’re all looking for people to share their stories with, looking for friends with common interests, hoping to make friends with other like-minded individuals who happen to use cannabis, and they want to be able to do so with without any fear of being stigmatized.
What’s one of the most endearing success stories you’ve heard?
We were at an event in Vegas and these two people approached us. Turns out, they met on the app and are getting married. They’re a fun and sweet couple. [Ed. note: See below.]
Have you ever used the app to find love, hook up, or meet like minded people?
I’m happily married for over 15 years! But, I have met so many people, both men and women, who have such incredible stories about their connection to cannabis. I have formed really great friendships through this endeavor. It’s fun to touch down in Denver or New York and know I have a High There! family to meet up with or chat with.
I noticed you’ve organized a mobile party bus for High There! users to mingle in real time. Do you host High There! events regularly?
The High There! hopper was something we rolled out a year ago in Denver and it really helped people take those connections they made on the app and meet in real life. We’ve done some cool events in Vegas, like the Life Is Beautiful Festival, and have monthly meetups in comedy clubs across the country. We’ll definitely be doing more High There! events in the coming months throughout the country. But, what’s been really cool for us to see is people on the app having their own meetups—dates, smoke sessions, chill and watch a game.
Can anyone use this app or is it only available in weed-friendly states?
Anyone can use it all over the world! We are global! We have users in the Netherlands, Australia, UK, South America, and beyond making connections.
What’s one of the most important things you’ve learned about love, dating, and relationships through the process of creating this business?
We’ve learned that, if you are open and willing to be yourself, the world of dating opens up for you. Because High There! takes away the stigma. You don’t have to have “the talk” about cannabis, which immediately takes down any barriers and allows people to connect with and learn from one another.