The woman they now call “Dr. Dina” is a mover and a shaker in the medical cannabis movement and a consultant to the stars, most famously to Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg), who is credited with bestowing the medically-inspired nickname upon her. She’s worked alongside multiple nonprofit dispensaries in three different states, and even inspired the Nancy Botwin character from Showtime’s Weeds.
Ironically, Dr. Dina (Editor’s note: Dr. Dina is not a board-certified physician) was originally staunchly skeptical about the benefits of medical cannabis. That was the case until she saw the good this plant could do—with her very own eyes. Her personal transformation was initialized by an ex-boyfriend that knew a Northern California woman working at a dispensary; one that had convinced him of cannabis’ medicinal value.
“You listen to the Grateful Dead,” she ribbed him back then. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
She went from being a skeptic to being a believer a few years later, however, when she witnessed how MMJ improved the life of a friend tragically struck with testicular cancer. That friend asked Dr. Dina to put him in touch with her Northern California dispensary because the nausea prevented him from even keeping down his pharmaceutical meds. Dr. Dina and her friend ended up paying a visit to a Northern California doctor—the friend nauseous and vomiting the whole drive there.
“There was a line around the block to see this doctor,” Dr. Dina recalls, describing this memorable journey. “[My friend] couldn’t stand, so we had to buy an office chair down the street at an Office Depot to roll him in because we didn’t have a wheelchair. “
Finally, they got in to see the doctor, obtained a recommendation for MMJ and purchased some at a dispensary. What she saw next, amazed her. “After smoking a joint, instantaneously—within five minutes—color came back to his face. He stopped dry heaving. He looked at me and he said, ‘Oh my god. Give me the pills. Let me try to take the pill.’ He kept smoking and took the pills, and it was the first time that had happened. So, right there, in front of my, eyes I said, ‘Wow, this is really amazing!’ Here’s someone that’s dying of cancer. There’s no way he should be turned away for this. Right off the bat, I realized that medical marijuana is great for people that are really, really sick. That’s when I realized that people who are really, really sick shouldn’t have to get in a car and drive to San Francisco to see a doctor so they wouldn’t go to jail.”
This experience prompted Dr. Dina to take action.
“That’s what inspired me in 2003 to open the first doctor’s office [that could recommend medical cannabis],” she says. “And once we got that open, it was like every patient that came in had a different incredible story that blew me away.”
“Stop Taking People to Jail”
Dr. Dina wants to see the Obama administration do more to loosen federal restrictions on cannabis use. “I believe that he absolutely could do more,” she states. “I think that it’s time that we stop taking people to jail for weed. I think that is the No. 1 biggest issue with our country. If we look at the jails, they’re overcrowded with people that you’re making criminals out of because they had a little bit of pot . . . they refuse to admit that there’s any benefit to marijuana.”