‘Netflix and chill’ takes on a whole new dimension, with cannabis promotion for new original sitcom ‘Disjointed’
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif—Mega-movie streaming service Netflix and West Hollywood’s Alternative Health Herbal Services (AHHS) dispensary teamed up this past weekend for a promotional pop-up store, hosted at the dispensary. The pop-up offered limited edition cannabis strains, developed to match some of Netflix most popular content, including its newest sitcom “Disjointed.”
“I think this is the most mainstream collaboration ever done in cannabis to date, and done the way that has never been done before,” said AHHS’ co-owner and founder Dina Browner, aka Dr. Dina. Tapped more than a year ago by show creators David Javerbaum (The Daily Show, The Colbert Report) and Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory), Browner also is the cannabis consultant on “Disjointed.”
“Because any industry, whenever there’s a collaboration, it’s two people coming together to make something happen, but it usually means the profits are split,” she explained. “Netflix wanted nothing to do with profits from the store – they just wanted to provide us with beautiful packaging [for flower], provide us shirts, re-do the store, and promote the business. So, this was a first-of-its-kind for a company like Netflix actually respecting the cannabis industry. Not wanting to take advantage of the cannabis industry – and to me, that’s really powerful.”
The show’s first ten episodes debuted on August 25, and are based somewhat on situations that have taken place at AHHS, or during Browner’s more than fifteen-year career in cannabis.
“We decided that it only made sense that we put this pop-up together, and we have it here to help promote the show. Basically, we are operating as normal, as always, and Netflix asked us if we would be okay with them coming in and revamping the dispensary. So, we said, ‘Of course! We would love that!’”
Netflix remodeled the AHHS dispensary, located at 7828 Santa Monica Blvd., and transformed it into Ruth’s Alternative Caring, the dispensary in the show. AHHS operated as normal, but was also able to offer various Netflix show-branded limited edition cannabis strains, including blends for “Orange is the New Black,” “Bojack Horseman,” and “Arrested Development,” among others.
“We had planned this over six months in advance. They asked us to find special cultivators and find special strains that would work with the description of what they were trying to do. They went and got permission for all these other shows on Netflix, and then decided to do it… It’s so much fun,” Browner said.
“The Netflix people set up this amazing booth, giving out free merchandise – and not like crappy merchandise. Really nice shirts and hats and pins… We have a TV in the front playing episodes, so it’s just really fun,” she added. “All the actors came in and signed the wall with chalk. It’s very cute.”
Actress Kathy Bates leads an ensemble cast as Ruth Whitefeather Feldman, a cannabis activist, and dispensary owner. Browner, upon whom the character is loosely based, said that working with Javerbaum and Lorre was inspiring and exciting, but also that working with Bates was a special experience.
“Kathy alone is one of the most magical people that you’ve ever been in a room with. Everyone is terrified by her that she’s gonna break your ankles with a sledgehammer, and she plays it up. She loves that she can get that reaction from someone. She is the warmest, sweetest, classiest broad I ever met,” Browner gushed.
“[Bates] has embraced cannabis. She’s gone through cancer. She had a double mastectomy,” Browner described. “She’s gone through such horrible things with cannabis and the fact that she’s embracing cannabis – she’s so open to letting people know it’s available. Not too many people would take this role and embrace it like Kathy does, so that’s really special.”
Browner’s long and eventful career has included every pitfall a dispensary owner can imagine, including several federal raids. But persistence pays off; in regards to the changing tide of public opinion on cannabis, Browner occasionally gets to speak through Bates.
“There are so many times – at the end, when [a prosecution] is over,” Browner explained, “that you wanted to say, and you wished you had said it. To have the opportunity to have Kathy Bates say what I’ve always wanted to say. To me, every time I watch it, I get chills and I say the lines with her on TV, because it’s like, ‘Yes! Yes!’”
She added that it’s also satisfying to be able to have some fun at the expense of the DEA. “We just hope we make some people laugh and spend some time away from the news,” Browner said.