Actually it's not that Sage smells like Pot, half as much as some varieties of Pot can smell like Sage.
Subtle difference I know and sure sounds like I'm splitting hairs.
But while can honestly say that I have never indulged, I have had many friends who do. I don't have a problem with this and if it is ever legalized I'll be one of the first to try a hit because my friends use is responsibly. Their usage is no more or less than my enjoying an occasional drink. In fact I have heard it referred to as "Leafy Bourbon"
Now being an herbalist, I have a nose for potency of herbs by the smell of the unburnt leaved. I can tell you if I'm going to get a goodly amount of Lavender Oil from a batch of flowers, or if I'm going to be wasting my time. This skill means that I can tell the potency og Pot as well. Something my friends would avail themselves of by asking me to smell the pot and ask if they got good stuff or skunk weed.
Several varieties of Pot have a strong Sage-like smell to it. Other times, sage is mixed into the Pot to make a poorer quality leaf a little better. Rosemary and Thyme are also sometimes added to the batch to improve the quality or to make more money by selling an ounce of something while only giving you half an ounce of Pot.
This is why Sage often reminds people of Pot, because they've encountered the Sage-like pot, or Sage cut pot.
Now, a way to get around the whole "burnt sage smells like pot" issue is to extract the aromatic oils in Sage using a hydro-distillation method or if you're lazy, buy some sage oil. Mix the sage oil in some water you've purified and charged in ritual and shake it up and spritz into the air if the place you're trying to cleanse.
This way you get the sage-y goodness, without the "Cheech and Chong's Basement" smell.