Happiness required at Devine Berkshires: This history-making retail cannabis shop in the Berkshires wants you to feel the joy.

By Melissa Reid

Heidi Zorn’s happiness stems from a lifetime of helping people pursue their health and healing journeys. “Making people happy all day makes me happy,” Zorn tells me happily.

Zorn and her husband and business partner Ari are the co-founders of the first cannabis dispensary in the charming town of South Egremont, MA, they named Devine Berkshires. For more than two decades, the entrepreneurial couple has lived in what Heidi calls her tiny town, raising their three children while building their careers in health and wellness and actively participating in the local community.

Zorn says her life-long mission to bring health and happiness to people began when she started volunteering as a candy striper at her local military hospital when she was 12. “That patient interaction sat somewhere in me,” she says. 

After completing a university degree in psychology, Zorn moved to the Berkshires, where she would meet her future husband who was a restaurateur, personal trainer and environmental activist. With his encouragement, she continued her path to helping people by becoming a qualified chiropractor.

Zorn credits her mother-in-law—whom she calls “a brilliant civil rights lawyer”—for encouraging them to “get into the weed business.” One Friday night, Zorn says she and her husband stopped by the local wine store for an event. There, they learned that the building’s basement was the only place in town approved for a cannabis retail license. “All of a sudden, grandma’s words are ringing true to us,” she says. The couple was familiar with the location, as they had considered moving their chiropractic and personal training businesses into the building. “There’s something magnificent about it,” she says. “It’s on the historical register; it used to be a mill.”

Over the first few months, Heidi immersed herself in studies, trying to learn all the regulations of owning a cannabis dispensary. “I thought, ‘Can I do this? Can I open a pot shop in my little town?’ It was so exciting.” Heidi asked her sister, Christine, a Boston-based attorney for 20 years, to review the paperwork. “She came back and said, ‘I’m in. Let’s see what we can do.’” 

When it came to raising capital, Zorn knew she wanted to involve locals. “I wanted my whole community around me to be happy because our success meant they’d be succeeding, too.” She started a crowdfunding campaign to ask 100 residents to invest $1,000 each. It took three years from the time they started the licensing process to the day Devine opened its doors. Zorn’s vision had become a reality. 

During that time, COVID struck and the contracting work stopped. Zorn rolled up her sleeves and got to work. “I had to come up with the floor design, where the walls would be, where the bathroom would be,” she says. Her vision didn’t end with floor plans; she built the interiors herself, too, using locally sourced, sustainably-focused materials. “Everything is upcycled, recycled or refurbished,” she says proudly. 

Zorn credits her childhood in Germany for giving her a more holistic approach to health and wellness. “We went to bathing pools with the crystals on the walls—at that time, I enjoyed it,” she says. “Now, I can reflect on this as an older person and say, ‘Wow, these weren’t only just fun things to do, they were also very healing.’” 

By incorporating crystals, gongs, incense and other “moon things,” as she calls them, Zorn says she’s made “the vibe” at Devine welcoming and relaxing, encouraging her clients to return to find products that bring them happiness. “When people who are having a bad day come in, I make them stand in the foyer, ring the gong bells and do some energy cleansing. Then I give them a hug and some good weed.”

Zorn credits the dispensary with bringing her happiness in myriad ways. “It’s brought me a whole new family,” she says. “Our happiness comes from selling happy weed and making people happy all day in our cute little crystallized hobbit hole.”

Who wouldn’t be happy with that?

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