1st Time I Bought Legal Weed

The Early Days of Legal Cannabis With Danielle Schumacher and Sara Hussain

Episode 221

Show Notes

Danielle Schumacher and Sara Hussain

Join us for a dose of nostalgia as we reflect on the early days of legal cannabis through the eyes of Danielle Schumacher and Sara Hussain. From Danielle’s adventure in Oakland, CA during Measure Z, to Sara’s unique experience in Washington DC, the stories of their first legal weed purchases offer a unique perspective on the evolving cannabis landscape.

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Ellen Scanlon (00:00):

This podcast discusses cannabis and is intended for audiences twenty-one and over. Support for How to do the Pot comes from Cann. Cann is a social tonic. Drinkable, delicious cannabis that’s as bubbly, refreshing, and sociable as your favorite cocktail, but hold the booze. Use promo code DOTHEPOT for 20% off when you visit drinkcann.com. That’s drinkcann. Try a can today and have a happy holiday without the Hangover.


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


One of the biggest misconceptions about shopping for legal weed is thinking that you need to know a lot about cannabis before you go. You have to bring your government-issued ID and it will make it easier if you bring cash but visiting a dispensary has become a lot like a regular shopping experience now that more states have legalized it. This series is dedicated to providing you with a support system of women, all across the country, who have been in your shoes. The stories you’ll hear today almost feel like a history lesson, what it was like in the early days of cannabis. We say in the industry that cannabis years feel like dog years because so much happens and there is such rapid change. I hope hearing how far we’ve come inspires you to check out a legal dispensary where you live or on your travels to a legal state.


Danielle Schumacher is the Illinois-based Chief of Staff of the Parabola Center, a nonprofit think tank of drug policy experts. Back in 2005, Danielle was visiting Oakland, California for a cannabis conference. She ended up meeting Richard Lee, the founder of Oaksterdam University. Oaksterdam is America’s first cannabis college offering certifications in cannabis horticulture, business, extraction and bud tending. Not long after this chance meeting, Danielle started working at Oaksterdam University and eventually she became the school’s first chancellor.

Danielle Schumacher (02:47):

At that conference, Richard Lee, Founder of Oaksterdam, had a booth and was giving out passes to his Bulldog Cafe in downtown Oakland. And at that time, purchasing cannabis was semi-legal or legal under Measure Z. Measure Z made private adult use lowest law enforcement priority and included distribution, sale, cultivation and possession, so it was one of the first of its kind and very progressive. At that time, on a state level, Prop 215 had been in effect since 1996, but it only allowed medical use for California residents. So as a tourist, I was able to go into this invite only club, people would know about Measure Z clubs just through referrals. They had a binder with clear plastic pages like the ones for baseball cards, and in each pocket was a sample of a strain of flour or hash.


We were completely enamored and overwhelmed. There weren’t any vape cartridges or any kind of dabs or different kinds of hash. There was only a few options of kief and old school water hash. They also had some edibles and drinks. I’ll never forget the range of drinks. One was a medicated Irish Moss drink that was really strong for me at the time. They also had a small smoking lounge. It felt kind of like Amsterdam, that was definitely his idea behind Oaksterdam. I remember it feeling like a luxury and a privilege, absolutely just unbelievable, like “How did I find myself here?”


Over the few years after that, it really struck me that I had this glimpse into this completely different world from the Midwest and kind of a glimpse into the future. There is a picture of me from soon after that experience where I’m sitting on the ground in a BART station and waiting for a train and I looked really, really happy. Definitely inspired me to consider moving to California so I could learn more about legalization. Actually ended up being recruited out there by Berkeley Patients Group. And through that I eventually started working with Richard Lee in Oaksterdam, where I learned a lot from him about cloning and maintaining mother plants, and helped create the original curriculum for Oaksterdam University where I became the first chancellor. I had taught classes, hired and trained staff and instructors, and super grateful to Richard Lee for his role in my career, my life.

Ellen Scanlon (05:53):

Sara Hussein is the Ohio based founder of Budwell, a brown woman smokeware boutique and home of Buddy, the Unbreakable customizable one-hitter pipe. In the early 2010s, Sara was living in Washington D.C. Still to this day, Washington D.C has one of the most unique distribution models for cannabis that I’ve ever heard of. You buy something, a t-shirt or stickers, and then you are gifted the weed.

Sara Hussain (06:25):

So D.C.’s program, at the time, was you couldn’t sell weed, but you could gift it. That meant that the way to get it at the time was going into your friendly neighborhood head shop and purchasing something like a extremely ugly or unflattering T-shirt or hat. I’m talking like size four XL, beefy tee. I wasn’t really clear on how to be smooth about all of it, so I just said as little as I could throughout the process, “I would like a shirt, please.” “What color would you like?” And I don’t know, to this day of color indicated indica or sativa, but I know that that was the only chance I would’ve gotten to have a choice of anything.


I then became the proud owner of a King Weedy with a little crown on it, kind of like Mardi Gras style XXXL t-shirt and then they throw in a little bag at the end. They throw an eighth in at the end and it was like, I think, 40 or 50 bucks. And that was that. Did it pale in comparison to my next experience, which was buying at a beautiful retail experience out in LA? Yeah, no, it had a little something to be desired compared to that, but hey, I got high. That’s what counts, right?

Ellen Scanlon (08:00):

If you liked this episode, please share it with a friend. We love new listeners and are here to help everyone feel confident about cannabis.


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. Thank you to producers Madi Fair and Nick Patri. I’m Ellen Scanlon. And stay tuned for more of How to Do the Pot.



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