Here's Why The 'Disjointed' Dispensary Feels So Real

by Victoria McNally

The marijuana industry has always been a popular subject for TV and movies — just look at Half Baked, Pineapple Express, or Weeds, all of which focus on the seedy underbelly of the illicit drug trade in various (often ridiculous) ways. But Netflix’s new sitcom Disjointed is taking things to a whole other level, because it’s putting weed-growing on a totally legal ground. The new Chuck Lorre-produced series takes place inside an LA-based medical weed dispensary and stars Kathy Bates as Ruth, a longtime legal advocate for marijuana who’s finally getting the chance to make it into a legitimate business. But is it based on a real business? Is Ruth’s Alternative Caring a real dispensary outside of Disjointed?

It seems pretty clear that the location where Kathy Bates and company actually film is a set created for the show, and a quick google search reveals no actual dispensary named “Ruth’s Alternative Caring,” in Los Angeles or otherwise. But despite all that, it definitely feels like Ruth’s is based on the sorts of weed shops that exist in California, and in other states that permit the use of medical marijuana. Here are some aspects of the show’s first episode that ring true:

No Smoking Outside


The LA Weekly points out that in California, at least, it’s illegal to smoke in public and to buy and sell marijuana outside of state-regulated dispensaries.

Say Hello To Security


Last year, the New York Times wrote a feature about how veterans in Denver are finding work as security guards for weed-related businesses. However, they’re mostly protecting the stores from thieves, because violent robberies are more common in the industry than you’d think.

The Store Name


“Alternative” is an extremely popular moniker for dispensaries, especially in California. In 2009, Capital Public Radio profiled a Sacremento weed retailer whose store was named “The Therapeutic Alternative.” According to the LA Weekly, there’s also at least three stores in L.A. alone with the word “Alternative” in their names.

Growing Your Own


Ruth’s Alternative Caring employs an in-house grower for many of their strains, which is absolutely true to reality — heck, Leafly even has a guide for how to make your way into the medical cannabis business as a grower. Herb also notes that with the exception of Washington, it’s also legal to grow your own weed in almost any state where recreational pot use is permitted.

Of course, you don't have to know all about the inner workings of the medicinal marijuana business to enjoy an episode of Disjointed or two — most of the weed jokes work just as well either way. Nonetheless, it's nice to see the show did a little bit of homework to make sure Ruth's Alternative Caring seem like the sort of place you'd actually be able to visit. Provided you have a doctor's note, of course.