It’s a spring afternoon on West Hollywood’s Santa Monica Boulevard and in-between a Russian grocery and a tattoo parlor, things are bustling at “Dr.” Dina Broward’s Alternative Herbal Health Services dispensary. A digital tote board touts the benefits of CBD in helping overcome withdrawal from opiate addiction, while a security guard straight out of “Disjointed,” the recently canceled Netflix show for which Dr. Dina served as cannabis consultant, learns that ex-pro football star Keyshawn Johnson is on his way. After getting her baptism in cannabis as a teenager from Snoop Dogg himself, Dr. Dina’s dispensary — one of the first in L.A. — has become a go-to location for the likes of rapper 2Chainz and producer Timbaland, as well as Charlie Hunnam and fellow “Sons of Anarchy” cast members.
Broward’s retail store was one of only four in L.A. County licensed for “adult use” when legalization took hold in California on Jan. 1, opening to all comers the next day, with lines stretched down the street.
“There were people who just wanted to say they bought marijuana legally, that they’d been waiting all their lives for this moment,” Browner tells Variety. “And that was the case whether you were 25 or 65.”
Just up the block, would-be franchise MedMen — alternately dubbed the Apple Store or Starbucks of retail weed — also welcomed the curious, offering dazzling in-store displays, with iPads identifying the various weed strains, housed in clear plastic that allow consumers to examine the buds through a magnifying glass and conduct their own sniff tests.
The company’s chief marketing officer B.J. Carretta, a veteran of Fender Guitar and NBC Sports, where he forged corporate branding and specialized in guerilla marketing for action events with Red Bull and Mountain Dew, insists MedMen’s goal is to “normalize and destigmatize the