DR. DINA is already a cannabis classic - and a work of art in the emerging world of marijuana’s mainstream push. Many know her as The Real Nancy Botwin due to the uncanny resemblance her life shares with the hit Showtime show Weeds. You’ve also likely seen her snagging headlines for being a medical cannabis provider and expert cannabis consultant to the stars, with clientele including Snoop Dogg, 2Chainz and Charlie Hunnam - not to mention the plethora of conservative and private patients who will, of course, remain nameless. But when she’s not dodging the pot-parazzi, you’ll find that Dr. Dina is more about power to the people than pop culture. When it comes to advocacy, Dr. Dina has been at it for a while, having opened up Southern California’s first medical marijuana doctor’s office back in 2003 and managed one of LA’s oldest and most popular dispensaries in the years that followed – hence earning the nickname “Dr. Dina” from Snoop who was one of her first patients. She is not a board-certified doctor, but works along side of one, and is always quick to remind people of such. “When men think I’m a real doctor, the first thing they often want to ask about is their prostate,” she says laughing. “Once Snoop gives a nickname, it sticks. But I always tell people I’m not a real doctor.” When she entered the cannabis industry with her god-brother Andy after suddenly being forced out of her ex-fiance’s home in Calabasas (where Agrestic from Weeds was filmed), she faced a push back from the predominantly male industry:
“When I first started, I realized no one wanted to take me seriously. I thought at first it was because I was young. Then I realized it was because I was a woman. But I could always hang with the boys.” Dr. Dina had her hands full in the early years, whether it was dealing with a male dominated industry, standing up to members of the drug cartel, or dealing with turf wars and street criminals who swarmed the Southern California weed scene. But all of this was really a warm-up for her fight against a much larger and more imposing enemy: the federal government. She reflected candidly on these early experiences, especially as they prepared her to face three DEA raids between 2007 and 2013. “I’m tough and I don’t take shit from anyone. I got in their faces and threw them off their game. What are they gonna do. Shoot a little girl?” But that isn’t to make Dr. Dina sound like a thug - although her current playlist is admittedly almost all hip-hop, and she certainly travels in that world. In addition to celebrating a recent birthday on stage with 2Chainz, Snoop has rapped about her in the song “My Medicine” and Fabolous even filmed the video for “We Get High” in her loft. Despite having needed to be tough, she is more likely to put her arm around you than to point a finger in your face. She unexpectedly entered the industry back in 2002 as a result of helping a friend with cancer find safe access to cannabis, and has been about helping people and following her heart ever since. Her latest advocacy push is “The Dr. Dina POW Challenge”, which she explains as follows: “Basically, as you know, there are a lot of people locked up in prison for this plant. And for all the people locked up, we’ve found about 1,200 that are currently incarcerated for nonviolent, no-victim offenses. My challenge is for everyone dispensaries, edible companies, hash companies, everyone in the industry - to get involved and sponsor one of these cannabis warriors.”
dopemagazine.com ISSUE 43 THE ADVOCACY ISSUE | 25
Featuring Dr. Dina, "The Real Nancy Botwin"!