Why do women still feel awkward–or worse yet, stigmatized–for buying weed? This week on 1st Time I Bought Legal Weed Nicole Upshaw, EVP at Jushi Holdings, shares her story and why she purchases her cannabis with pride ever since. Did you know that 3 out of 4 women in the U.S. have access to legal cannabis? This series is dedicated to women sharing their stories and empowering you in your own experiences buying cannabis.
Ellen Lee Scanlon (00:00):
This podcast discusses cannabis and is intended for audiences 21 and over.
Ellen Lee Scanlon (00:07):
Welcome to How to Do the Pot, a podcast demystifying cannabis for women. I’m Ellen Scanlon, and today I have a cough and cold so please bear with me.
Ellen Lee Scanlon (00:18):
Buying weed can still be an intimidating thing, and I hope these stories give you a boost of confidence that comes from knowing you have a friend to help you out with all you need to know before you go. We would love to hear your story. Send us a voice memo with your three to five-minute story to email@example.com, that’s H-I @dothepot.com.
Ellen Lee Scanlon (00:42):
It is nearly the end of 2021 and cannabis is legal for adult use in 19 states and for medical use in 37 states, an amazing pace of change since the first episode of How To Do the Pot dropped in November of 2019. One of the reasons that I started this series is to help if you’re worried that you’re doing something wrong by buying legal cannabis. You’re definitely not alone in feeling that way, as the many women in this series share in their stories, but I really don’t want you to feel that way.
Ellen Lee Scanlon (01:15):
We have a whole series dedicated to understanding all you need to know about legalization, from what’s different in a medical or an adult use state, why women often find cannabis as a last resort to treat medical conditions and find it’s the first thing that works, why stigma still exists around cannabis and what we can all do to fight it, plus a celebration of the joys of legal weed. I hope you’ll listen and share it with anyone you think would enjoy.
Ellen Lee Scanlon (01:44):
Today, we meet Nichole Upshaw, the Massachusetts-based executive vice president of human resources at cannabis company, Jushi Holdings.
Nichole Upshaw (01:55):
The first time I bought legal weed, why does it still feel like you’re doing something bad? I do not know. But I grew up around cannabis, I’ve literally been around cannabis, illegal cannabis, my entire life. When I joined the cannabis industry, I had still never purchased legal weed. On a trip out to Vegas in my very early Jushi days, of course I knew I had to go to Planet 13, that is the mecca of dispensaries and a true tourist destination. I went to Planet 13 and checked it all out and bought several different products and walked out, no cops, no nothing, nothing bad happened. I’m like, “This is amazing.”
Nichole Upshaw (02:48):
Then, when we opened up our first adult use store in Illinois, what was even better than buying legal weed in Las Vegas was buying legal weed with an employee discount. That really took it to the next level. I don’t know that there is a better product that you can get an employee discount on. Now, today, a couple years later, I would say I am 100% comfortable walking into a dispensary and buying legal cannabis.
Nichole Upshaw (03:26):
Over two years later, working in the industry and buying a lot of legal weed and only buying legal weed, it still is heartbreaking to me that so many women who consume have to worry about walking into a dispensary and who is seeing them or who is looking at them because, for example, my dispensary happens to be right next to a huge wine store and no one’s thinking twice about women walking into there and buying a few bottles of wine, but can be looking at people sideways, or women specifically sideways, for walking into a dispensary.
Nichole Upshaw (04:05):
I do really try to be as open about it as possible, and especially with my female friends, with my female peers, just to try to make it safe. If I’ll talk about it, it makes other people open up and talk about it. Even in my neighborhood, I’ll say I’m very open about what I do for work. I think being ashamed of it will not move this industry forward or not break the stigma. I wear that cannabis shirt with pride, whether it’s in my neighborhood or picking up my children. I walk into the dispensary with no sunglasses on and look at the camera and smile. I’m very, very proud to be a part of it.
Nichole Upshaw (04:43):
I know it takes time and all of us go at our own pace, but I look forward to the day that it’s comfortable for all women to buy legal cannabis and shop in a dispensary and be very comfortable and happy with their experience.
Ellen Lee Scanlon (05:01):
Thanks for listening to this episode of How to Do the Pot. If you’d like to share your story about the first time you bought legal weed, please send a voice memo to firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us @dothepot. For lots more information and past episodes, visit dothepot.com, and that’s also where you can sign up for How to Do the Pot’s newsletter, which comes out every other Friday. If you like How to Do the Pot, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts. It helps more people find the show.
Ellen Lee Scanlon (05:30):
Thanks to Madi Fair, our brand manager, and our producer, Nick Patri. I’m Ellen Scanlon, and we’ll be back soon with more of How to Do the Pot.