Alexander Farnsworth slays the cannabis game from his popular perch in the heart of the Berkshires.

By Melissa Reid

I’d been traveling back and forth between New York City and the Berkshires for quite some time and Great Barrington struck me as the perfect place to open a cannabis company,” says Alexander Farnsworth, co-founder of Farnsworth Fine Cannabis, one of Great Barrington’s more distinguished dispensaries. 

Massachusetts legalized cannabis in 2016, and the entrepreneur opened Farnsworth Fine Cannabis with his brother Brayden and sister Bella in 2021. “I was still spending time in Great Barrington when the ballot was approved by voters, so I started to really explore the idea,” he says. “The more I spoke about it, the more I was met with resistance. People said, ‘Oh, that’s illegal,’ or ‘That’s a drug.’ Like my love—and ability to marry until 2015—I’ve never believed what society had to say or believed the hype about cannabis being bad.”

Indeed, Farnsworth credits the plant with helping him through an emotionally difficult period in his life. “I smoked cannabis for the first time at age 15 and immediately felt a sense of peace that I hadn’t felt living as a closeted queer kid in a conservative state,” he says. When he moved to New York City at 19, social cannabis use was all around him. “Everyone I knew was using it for creative projects or to go out dancing,” he says.

Proudly queer-owned and operated, the Farnsworth Fine Cannabis dispensary was designed to be a light and modern retail space, reflecting the brand’s mission of changing lingering outdated stereotypes around cannabis. “We wanted to provide a more modern perspective and counterpart to the historic Main Street of Great Barrington,” Farnsworth says. “It’s a juxtaposition to the historical architecture and buildings.” Whoever passes through the dispensary doors, both weekend visitors and locals alike, Farnsworth suggests a Camino gummy as the perfect edible for exploring the area. Additionally, he says, “The flavor profile is just incredible; it takes the edge off the body and provides a little bit of giggling and a little bit of relaxation. I really love it.”

Farnsworth says the retail experience is “luxurious, inviting, educational and layered in history.” That history is the family’s lineage—great-uncle Philo T. Farnsworth was the inventor of the first fully functional and complete all-electronic television system. His descendant pays homage to the pioneering audiovisual innovator throughout the dispensary, with early televisions and radios proudly on display beside some of the finest cannabis products on the market. Farnsworth says the gadgets help to create a contrast to the sleek, modern interior design and add some gravitas and a sense of the passing of time. “The radios provide a sense of nostalgia for many of our customers,” he says. “They also provide some color and texture to the experience and help to tell our story.”

Only premium cannabis products are offered at the dispensary, Farnsworth says, including cannabis flower, concentrates and edibles, as well as an eponymous line of products. “By putting cannabis in a museum-quality showroom, we’re signaling that the plant is worthy of being put on a pedestal,” he says. “We sell everything from $2 rolling papers to $2,000 diamond-encrusted pot leaf necklaces.” If you’re in the market for a gift that’s a little extra special, like Jack Kerouacs’s desk lighter, vintage smoking accoutrements from Cartier, DuPont, Hermès or Tiffany’s, you’re in the right place, as Farnsworth and his brother collect exquisite cannabis-themed objets d’art from their global travels.

Farnsworth says his favorite things about Great Barrington are the same things that draw so many visitors to this heavenly slice of the Berkshires: Arts, culture, food and the great outdoors. He says he was struck by the similarities between his hometown of Park City, UT, and Great Barrington during his first visit to the region—a familiarity that’s lasted to this day. “Ultimately, Great Barrington reminds me of home.”

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