San Francisco is about to welcome a completely new kind of fitness center — a marijuana-friendly gym that allows customers to consume cannabis on-site before and after their workout.
The world’s first cannabis-friendly gym—aptly-named Power Plant Fitness—is the joint business venture of Ricky Williams, a former NFL player, and Jim McAlpine, founder of 420 Games, which organizes athletic events for marijuana enthusiasts.
Power Plant Fitness will have on-site vaporizers and marijuana edibles specifically designed for pre- and post-workout training, but McAlpine wants people to know this gym is meant for serious athletes. “It won’t be a place to get high and just screw around,” McAlpine said in a blog post on the 420 Games website. “We are focused on the athletic side, not the cannabis side.”
Scheduled to open in November 2016, Power Plant Fitness is part of an effort to reverse the stigmatization of marijuana usage and rectify the “lazy” stereotype pot users are commonly associated with. Marijuana use is an issue of personal significance for co-founder Williams, whose football career was severely threatened after repeatedly testing positive for marijuana during his career. “I was a really good football player, a really good person, my teammates loved me, my coaches loved me, but my career and life were ruined because of a drug test,” Williams has previously said.
Williams, whom many football fans know as a legendary running back and winner of the 1998 Heisman Trophy, has been a long-time user and advocate of marijuana and its reported benefits, stating that marijuana treated his social anxiety and borderline personality disorders “10 times better” than Paxil.
In an interview with Tech Insider, McAlpine explained that the gym views cannabis usage as a tool for focus and recovery. McAlpine said new gym members will take an initial “cannabis performance assessment” under the supervision of staff to determine how marijuana affects their workout regime and the most optimal way to consume it. “We will be helping our members figure out how is best for them to ingest their cannabis,” McAlpine said.
Williams retired from the NFL in 2004 after five seasons with the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins after failing a third drug test due to marijuana usage. Williams attempted to return to the NFL in 2006, but was suspended for the year due to a fourth failed marijuana test. The running back was finally reinstated to the NFL in 2007 and in 2012 he became the 26th player in NFL history to surpass the 10,000-career-rushing-yards milestone. Williams retired one month later.