1st Time I Bought Legal Weed

Buying Legal Weed in MICHIGAN with Sarah Tupper, Liz Nolan and Cotton Burns

Episode 202

Show Notes

Sarah Tupper, Liz Nolan and Cotton Burns

Did you know that Michigan hosts one of the nation’s longest-standing cannabis celebrations? Join us as we highlight buying legal weed in Michigan, the 10th state to legalize adult-use cannabis. Whether you’re a local or planning a visit, we’ll share insightful tips to help you effortlessly navigate the cannabis landscape and discover the unique experiences Michigan has to offer. Tune in to gain the confidence and knowledge to explore Michigan’s vibrant cannabis culture, from purchasing to consumption.

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Ellen Scanlon (00:00):

This podcast discusses cannabis and is intended for audiences 21 and over.

Sarah Tupper (00:06):

It was just one of those moments where you were like, “Wow, things are changing and I have the power to help change the stigma, and I have the power to discuss and have dialogue and conversation with other women who I think are interested in using cannabis too.

Ellen Scanlon (00:27):

Welcome to How To Do The Pot. A podcast helping you feel confident about cannabis. I’m your host, Ellen Scanlon.


You just heard from Michigan-based Sarah Tupper, the founder of Sarah Jane, a cannabis women’s lifestyle brand, and Ashe Lounge, Michigan’s first female owned consumption lounge. If you’ve traveled to San Francisco, Colorado or Washington State lately, I hope you checked out our episodes that guide you in exploring local cannabis there. Navigating the cannabis industry in new places can sometimes be intimidating. We are here to help so you know what to expect, and so you don’t miss out on the unique and special ways that you can incorporate weeded into visiting new places. In this episode, we are traveling to the 10th state to legalize adult use cannabis. Whether you’re planning a visit or you’ve lived there, I hope today’s local tips and stories will help you feel more confident about buying and consuming weeded in Michigan.


Before we get into this week’s episode, I’m really grateful to the people who have been asking how they can support the show. Please tell all your friends. Word of mouth is a great way to help us grow our listeners. Another thing you can do is sign up for How to Do the Pot’s newsletter. It’s a twice a month resource that helps you feel confident about cannabis for health, for wellbeing, and for fun. There are thousands of subscribers reading and replying with comments and tips and the more, the merrier. We couldn’t do this without you. Please go to dothepot.com to sign up. Thank you, and I really appreciate your support for the show.


As cannabis becomes legal in more and more states across the US, one of the things that makes trying cannabis while you’re traveling such a unique experience is that the legal weed sold in a state is required to have been grown in that state. So when you visit a new place, you really are experiencing cannabis that is specific to that location. Michigan is known for its beautiful scenery, historic automobiles, and delicious local cherries. And I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the wide selection of cannabis products and just how developed the retail market there is. Did you know that Michigan is home to one of the country’s oldest events that celebrates cannabis? Since 1972, Ann Arbor’s Hash Bash has been held every year on the first Saturday of April at high noon.


It features music, speeches and draws about 10,000 passionate weed lovers. Michigan has a long-standing cannabis presence through its rich growing history. Sarah Tupper shares some of Michigan’s agricultural history with us.

Sarah Tupper (04:03):

The Michigan cannabis industry is different and special. Most definitely. The Michigan industry feels unlike any other market in the US. We have a huge history of legacy growers and agriculture that helps provide some of the best cannabis in the country. That has been such an interesting just dichotomy of the legacy market versus the recreational legal market and what that looks like for both consumers and growers. We are ranked third in the country for not only retail sales, but also the amount of cannabis employees. So that just goes to show how much potential there is for this market to grow and to continue to become a foundation of agriculture here in Michigan.

Ellen Scanlon (04:58):

There are a few rules to remember while you’re in Michigan. Just like alcohol, you cannot consume cannabis in public. And since cannabis is federally illegal, you cannot consume it in government owned locations. So if you’re planning to visit any of Michigan’s five national parks, it’s not allowed there. With this mix of legacy growers and a booming retail market, it’s definitely a good stop if you’re looking for cannabis tourism. And we want to help you to find the best activities to pair with your weed before you go shopping. According to our local experts, the vibe in Michigan definitely leans toward enjoying the local food and taking full advantage of the beautiful scenery and many types of outdoor adventures available to you. As Sarah Tupper explains, the Midwestern love of getting outside is strong all across Michigan.

Sarah Tupper (06:01):

Cannabis enhances a variety of different experiences, so a lot of times we go to the water. I would say especially being a mom, being around water and being outdoors can really calm my nerves. It can help reset a particularly difficult summer day of parenting. Another thing that I really like to do is wander through different farmer’s markets. There are a few different ones here in West Michigan that I really like. It’s interesting too because once you get interested in the agricultural side of cannabis, it’s fun to get to know your farmers and the people that are providing your family with food. Just like you like to get to know your grower, there’s always a huge push here to support and shop local in many of these communities.


So it’s been a really fun way to travel with my kids and with my husband and just be able to stop and eat and shop your way through different neighborhoods, stop at parks, visit some different national parks and forests that we have here in Michigan. So I would definitely say that all Midwesterners take advantage of the beautiful weather, especially here in the summer but we also love the winter. We’re outdoorsy, we’re hardy, we’re Midwestern stock. We like to ski. We like to cross country ski. We like to snowmobile. I’m a hockey player. I love to ice skate. Learned how to ice skate out on a frozen lake in my neighborhood growing up as a child. So a lot of our activities are very much active ones that are spent outdoors year round.

Ellen Scanlon (07:48):

Once you’ve researched the shops, markets and parks to visit, it can help to do a little research on the cannabis dispensaries in that area too.

Sarah Tupper (07:58):

Your experience definitely will vary based on company, ownership, staff training, or lack thereof and product knowledge. I tend to check menus online. I tend to do a little research before I head in, but you’ll be quite surprised at pricing. That’s most of the feedback that I have from friends and colleagues in different markets you travel here. The bang for your buck is real in Michigan. This current market is definitely priced to move retail, so I do know a lot of people that travel to Michigan to stock up on a variety of different products.

Ellen Scanlon (08:40):

Now that you know more about Michigan’s cannabis market, I hope you’re excited to check it out. And I know it always helps to hear from women who have been there. Michigan-based Liz Nolan, who has had a long career in marketing and PR, shares how younger friends helped her feel more comfortable with the plant.

Liz Nolan (09:01):

The first time I ever bought legal cannabis was through a client. And the funny thing is everybody that was working at this particular place was significantly 15 to 20 years younger than me. I’m 49, so I think the thought is because I do cannabis marketing and public relations, that I’m overly experienced on the subject and I’m not. And so when they found out that I didn’t really know a whole lot, they were just excited to teach me things. I know flower, but I didn’t know everything about flower and the intricacies of it, terpenes and trichomes. And I know what THC level is, but things like that and different growing processes. And then edibles are my favorite thing in the world. So I kind knew my jam there, but dabs and concentrates and oil and vapes and I didn’t know anything about any of that.


The budtenders at this place called [inaudible 00:10:07] in Grand Rapids, Michigan, really knowledgeable and that was priceless information that they gave me. But it was funny because I kind of look like… Well, I’m a hockey mom, so hockey mom, soccer mom type looking person, but there’s a lot of people out there, especially when it becomes legal. You find out how many people actually do it. Maybe not every day, right, but often enough and never judge a book, that’s for sure.

Ellen Scanlon (10:35):

There are people all around you consuming cannabis, moms, doctors, artists, business people of all types. And if you need any proof, stand outside an adult use dispensary and watch who’s going shopping. It’s super diverse in age, race, sex, everything. Sarah Tupper shares what it was like the first time she bought legal weed in Michigan.

Sarah Tupper (11:04):

I laugh when I reminisce about my first time buying legal cannabis here in Michigan because it was at a time where I wasn’t necessarily embedded in the cannabis industry. I wasn’t working in the industry, but my girlfriends and I had been avid consumers and lifelong consumers in various methods and throughout various parts of our lives. I was so excited to find a “doctor” to give me my medical card, which of course you had to pay in cash and go to this random office and have these people sign the forms and submit them to the state of Michigan, and then voila, you have your medical card. So that does facilitate and made it a little bit easier.


But I remember just having this really surreal moment in the parking lot like, “Oh my God, I’m going into a store to purchase something that my entire life I’ve had to buy from random acquaintances, from random people, from the people that know of someone. And here I am walking into a brick and mortar store and shopping for this as if, all of the sudden this is normal.” And it was so interesting and just really this weird out of body experience to walk in and you kind of know what you’re looking for because you are a more experienced consumer. But I also didn’t know what I was looking for because I had never been somewhere where you could see everything so readily accessible, available, displayed. And really the experience was fun and entertaining and made me giggly.


And I remember texting my girlfriends and being like, “Oh my gosh, girls, I just got to walk into a store and buy cannabis, purchase weed legally.” And it was just one of those moments where you were like, “Wow, things are changing and I have the power to help change the stigma, and I have the power to discuss and have dialogue and conversation with other women who I think are interested in using cannabis too.” So it really not only piqued my interest in expanding my journey with plant medicine, but also in expanding my mind as far as career opportunities for female entrepreneurs.

Ellen Scanlon (13:53):

Isn’t it fun to hear the excitement in her voice? Finally getting to shop for weed the same way you shop for everything else, opens up so many possibilities. Cotton Burns is a Michigan-based esthetician, and she spent several years as an experienced grower in the medical side of the industry, which is called the caregiver market in Michigan.

Cotton Burns (14:17):

I actually went to buy edibles just because when you grow your own weed, you typically have a nice supply, but it’s always nice to test other strains. And I just was like, “I’m just going to buy these edibles and pay for them and then I’m going to get in my car and leave, and it’s totally okay to do this. It’s not a secret anymore. I can walk out with weed in my hand in front of the cop that’s posted around the corner.” And it was just a different feeling than traditionally in the caregiver market, it’s not something you’re broadcasting all over. And then to just be able to go out public and buy it was a little surreal. It’s like you’re watching everything evolve right before you, especially when you’ve been there before there was ever a dispensary retail store open.


I just like to see how much do they really know about cannabis? So what strains do they recommend? And then I just try to get some feedback onto, “Okay, why do you like this strain?” I like to see if people only mention the THC percentage over talking about terpenes and cannabinoids, which a lot of the times I only hear budtenders mentioning THC percentages.

Ellen Scanlon (15:41):

If you visited a dispensary anywhere, you’ve probably noticed the focus on high THC products. Higher levels of THC is often what makes people feel anxious. So I hope stories like this help you feel confident about asking about balanced strains and having conversations about the amount of non-intoxicating CBD that’s in the products. It’s about finding the right product that makes you feel your best. Thank you to our guests today for helping us all learn more about Michigan and the cannabis market there. If you want to share the story of buying weed in Arizona, New Mexico, or Missouri, I’m dying to hear all about it. Please send us your story in a voice note to hi@dothepot.com.


My goal with sharing these stories is to take the scariness out of doing something that was illegal for a long time and to help you feel supported, less alone, and a little lighthearted when you decide to go shopping for cannabis. I really want you to have fun. Thank you for listening to How To Do The Pot. For lots more information and past episodes, visit dothepot.com. Are you one of the thousands of people who love How To Do The Pot’s newsletter? If you’re not getting it, please sign up at dothepot.com. And if you like How To Do The Pot, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts. It really helps people find the show. Thanks to our writer, Devin [inaudible 00:17:27] and our producers, Madi Fair and Nick Patri. I’m Ellen Scanlon and we’ll be back soon with more of How To Do The Pot.




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