Sam Anderson grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Hampshire College where he studied American history and started a satirical newspaper called The Ink Valve. After moving to New York City, he interned at WNYC, and was a producer on the Brian Lehrer Show and Indivisible. His narrative radio stories have been published by Out There and Latino USA. After working as a staff writer at John Jay College, where he started a new publication called Fierce Advocate, he quit his job and moved out of the city to northern California to document the marijuana growing industry in transition.