A grow shop is a specialized shop that sells accessories and equipment for growing plants. In grow shops, you will find an assortment of floristry and aquarists, as well as DIY stores aiming to cultivate both practical and ornamental plants indoors. Grow shops include shops that sell hydroponic systems (plants grown in water) and those dedicated to growing cannabis.
In the broadest sense, the term “grow shop” can, in principle, refer to any shop that offers equipment for indoor cultivation. These shops are not necessarily shops where you can buy drug paraphernalia and cannabis seeds. One has to make a distinction between the terms head shops and smart shops here. There are three different types of shops, although, in practice, they often overlap (note: there are country-specific differences due to legal framework conditions!)
Products and Accessories
The range of shops is geared towards the respective country and its legal situation. Special lamps, fans, pots, fertilizers and pollinators, and many other indoor and outdoor items are sold, among other things. You can also often find seeds of different cannabis strains (Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Indica-Sativa hybrid), books on how to grow cannabis, and grow kits for psychoactive mushrooms.
In the Netherlands, for example, a typically grow shop offers accessories for growing various intoxicants (mostly cannabis and psychoactive mushrooms containing psilocybin).
Typical items in a grow shop are as follows:
- Germination & cultivation
- Warming & heating
- Air hoses
- Pumps & Hoses
- Other Accessories
- Scissors & Knives
- Plant nets
- and much more
After marijuana became popular in America in the 1950s, many grow shops and head shops sprang up over the next ten years so that one could offer cannabis cultivation products.
In the 1980s, cannabis cultivation began to spread in Europe by domestic growers in several countries, such as the Netherlands and Spain. The term “grow shop” was also adopted by them. It led to the proliferation of grow shops in Europe, selling cannabis cultivation products, including cannabis seeds.
In recent years, cannabis cultivation has been taken to a new level in Europe. Since 2010 you can buy self-flowering cannabis and feminized seeds. One developed these plants to be much less sensitive to external influences. It makes it relatively easy for even novice growers to grow and breed marijuana at home. Being able to order seeds from all over Europe created a large market for hobby growers.
Only with the flowering does the hemp produce its intoxicating effect with the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In Austria, it is legal to own hemp plants that are not allowed to flower.
The Viennese Higher Regional Court ruled that seeds and leaves of the cannabis plant that are not mixed with inflorescences and infructescences are expressly exempt from the Narcotics Ordinance (Narcotics Act). However, acquiring, producing, and selling it is illegal in Austria. This legal gray area allows numerous grow shops to sell cannabis plants legally. In Germany and Switzerland, they call it the Narcotics Act.