Officiant Proposes Weed Weddings

Steve Propes
Offriciant Alan Katz

In the current cannabis environment in which California voters legalized the use of marijuana and Long Beach voters authorized medical marijuana dispensaries, complementary business plans cannot be far behind.

Coming into existence on January 1, Cannabis Ceremonies –Joint Vows amounts to a wedding business dedicated to those who either consume or otherwise enjoy marijuana and who wish to get married or assist someone else taking those vows.

It’s the brainchild of Long Beach entrepreneur Alan Katz, a successful wedding officiant, owner of the “biggest wedding company of its kind in the industry.”

Born in Encino, Katz, 56, who has a staff of 36 officiants out of his Bixby Knolls offices, has had his weed years. “I’m sober for 26 years.” These days, he takes a sober position over the idea of incorporating marijuana into his practice. “With things being legal, I want to provide couples, if they want, to include references in ceremony, to honor their desires to incorporate their spliff in their ceremony.”

Already, a least one prospective couple has approached Katz with pot planning. “They wanted to see if they could exchange edibles during the ceremony in Long Beach. Though it’s never been legal to do, I never would have had a problem with it.”

Katz does propose guidelines. “If people were completely too stoned to sign the document, I wouldn’t have them do it. Don’t let your stoned friends be any part of planning your ceremony. They will forget something in the planning stages. We want to help people in the industry to have a safe environment for the planners in case something goes wrong.”

Katz bases some of his advice on personal experience. “I was a major stoner back in the day. I would wake and bake, stoned throughout the day. I was in the real estate industry at the time.”

A 1978 graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, Katz’s resume could equip an entire employment agency. “Chauffeur, actor, loan agent, singing telegrams, title insurance, sold toilet paper and newspaper ads as well as being a comedian.” He’s been part of the wedding industry for 15 years. It all began at a friend’s wedding. “I was going to be his best man. I told him, ‘look, I’m the entertainer of our group.’ I wrote a killer ceremony.”

Then his friends asked him to preside over their weddings, slowly building “the biggest wedding company of its kind in the industry.” Katz has performed vows or vow renewals in Israel, has been flown to New York and to Northern California. His primary territory is from Santa Barbara to Bakersfield, Palm Springs to San Diego and all points in between.

“You have to be ordained,” said Katz, who has received ordination from several sources. “My favorite is the Church of the Big Lebowski. You can give somebody a paint brush, but that doesn’t make them an artist; you can ordain, doesn’t make them an officiant.”

“I’m culturally Jewish,” said Katz. “I don’t have to practice, I’m good at it already. I’m already the king of the themed wedding: Harry Potter weddings, evil ghoul, Elvis weddings, Princess Bride, Dr. Who, circus master, hillbilly, superhero, Marilyn Monroe weddings,. I have 50 different costumes,” two of Elvis included.

“A lot of thought went into logo and theme design. When I saw legalizing was a foregone conclusion, I intended to be the go-to person as most clergy are stuck up old fuddy duddies. We don’t want to have people need to explain themselves.”

“We honor and accept their consumption. We also want to educate others in our industry on how to deal with our new laws. Nobody really knows what the laws are, can we have it at our ceremony with weed and can we have it with alcohol?”

To this end, Katz will be conducting officiant seminars in March “in conjunction with an association we work with.”

This isn’t his first time being first. “When gay marriage started to be acceptable, we were the first ones to get on the bandwagon and advocate the rights of equal marriage.” With a new administration, “a lot of couples are worried, especially same sex and immigrant couples.” In response, Katz is offering free weddings every Wednesday in the month of January to any same sex or immigrant couple who feels their right to wed is in jeopardy.

“I just married a couple this morning who I asked, ‘are you marrying because you’re worried about what’s going to happen?’ That applies to many couples. They just want to get it done. It’s a little bit of everything.”

“The new business is a separate entity,” run alongside his main business. “I don’t want it to affect the other company. I’m still doing basically the same thing, performing weddings.” Katz’s services are available on short or long notice: from one hour to one year in advance. “We plan to continue to dominate the industry. We will expand nationwide.”



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