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Brothers open head shop for the home grower

By Hannah Shirley

GREAT BARRINGTON— As a burgeoning cannabis industry continues to blossom in Berkshire County, dispensaries aren’t the only new shops to open.

Brothers Daniel and Max Lowenstein, who operate the county’s only cannabis accessory shop that also specializes in cannabis growing accessories, said they have high hopes of seeing other new business models take off as the marijuana industry continues to mature.

Daniel, 28, and Max, 23, both Berkshire natives, opened their brick-and-mortar location for Berkshire Glass and Grow last May after running the business online for about one year. In addition to smoking accessories, the brothers also sell plant nutrients, growing tents and other equipment necessary for cultivating cannabis both indoors and outdoors.

Daniel said the two had wanted to go into business together for some time and had initially kicked around ideas ranging from landscaping to food service. The Lowensteins eventually settled on the cannabis field because they saw it as an early chance to break into an exciting new industry.

“We were sort of weighing the ideas,” Daniel said. “Which was more viable, a head shop-style business or a business focused on growing? Then we figured, ‘why not combine the ideas?’”

Under state law, Massachusetts residents are allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal use with a maximum of 12 plants per household.

For those who are entirely new to growing cannabis, starting an outdoor garden is the easiest option for beginners and comes attached to the lowest startup cost, Daniel said.

“Of course, the thing with growing outdoors is it’s entirely weather-dependent,” he said. “If there’s a hard frost, you can be forced to harvest your plants two or three weeks before they’re quite ready.”

“Or if there’s a rainy or misty September, the wet can cause a lot of mold or bud rot problems, especially if the plants aren’t covered by some kind of greenhouse,” Max added.

Most people who find their way to Glass and Grow already have experience cultivating outdoors, and are ready to make the jump to indoor cultivation, Max said.

To help growers make the transition, the Lowensteins offer consulting and installation services.

Consulting could entail anything from sitting down and having a conversation with a grower about their concerns to visiting a space to determine the best equipment to fit their needs, Max said.

A basic setup, which includes a growing tent, LED lights, pots and soil, and a ventilation system, costs about $500, Max said.

A larger, more advanced setup using the highest-end products offered at Glass and Grow can easily run a grower $2,000 to $4,000, he added.

With the outdoor cultivation season ending in late September, Daniel said he expects interest in indoor growing equipment and late-season nutrients will only increase during the fall months.

While other Berkshire businesses hunker down for the long winter months ahead, the Lowensteins are optimistic that they will see minimal impact to their business in the off-season, since the majority of their customer base includes cannabis tourists and locals, Max said.

And considering the long lines at Great Barrington marijuana dispensary Theory Wellness during the frigid late winter months at the beginning of the year, he said he suspects cannabis tourism will prove to be a year-round phenomenon.

Still, Daniel said he and his brother have plans to expand the business in the coming months, particularly with a variety of indoor and outdoor cultivation workshops for both beginners and advanced growers.

They also plan to expand their in-house sand-blasting workshop in the coming weeks, where customers will have the option to have custom designs etched into their glass pieces.

Currently, Max and Daniel are the shop’s only two employees, but they expect to hire more employees once the workload grows to more than the two of them can handle on their own.

“It’s such an exciting time for anyone working related to the cannabis industry,” Daniel said. “It’s like a whole enormous industry that’s just gestating and coming into existence in the present day, and it’s really interesting to watch.”

Daniel might appreciate that more than many. He said he has used marijuana since he was in high school, when he discovered its benefits when it came to managing his mental health. Eventually, he began selling it as well as using it. In 2013, he was arrested for selling marijuana to an undercover police officer. The seriousness of the crime was deepened by his possession of an illegal firearm he had in his vehicle, which he said a customer had traded for about $60 worth of marijuana.

Daniel insisted he didn’t want to present himself as a victim and that he was arrested because he was engaging in illegal activity. Still, he said, the significance of being able to run his own cannabis accessory business in the Berkshires in 2019 isn’t lost on him.

“I guess having been a part of things during the black market days, it’s just so beautiful, really, transitioning to something that’s accepted and safe,” Daniel said. “Having come through many thousands of tribulations surrounding marijuana, it makes me really happy now to use it legally, and to get recognition for using it for medical reasons, and to be able to get it from a reputable source, and to be able to sell accessories as a reputable business. It’s just such a really amazing shift in the cultural environment.”

Berkshire Glass and Grow is located at 965 S. Main St. The shop is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.