Dual wellness center and recreational marijuana lounge proposed in Easthampton

Cannabis isn’t exactly the first thing that you’d think of when the topic of holistic wellness is brought up, but a new Easthampton business called Chronic Trips hope to change some of the dialog about wellness and recreational weed.

Seth Frappier, the owner and founder of Chronic Trips, said he’s planning to open a studio in downtown Easthampton that would include a recreational marijuana lounge paired with more traditional elements of a health studio, including yoga, group fitness classes, wellness walks, and outdoor adventure excursions.  

Chronic Trips Founder Seth Frappier (right) leads an outdoor adventure. Frappier plans to open an wellness center and recreational marijuana lounge in Easthampton. – Photo courtesy of Seth Frappier.

“We guide trips and run programs in order to motivate people towards a holistic lifestyle, foster a sense of place, and build a cannabis community,” he said.  

Frappier, who has experience as an athlete running marathons, as an adventure guide and holistic wellness advocate, said he thinks he believes living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean giving up smoking pot.

“One of the most dedicated Olympians of all time has trained with cannabis and that’s Michael Phelps,” Frappier said. “Some people say winners don’t smoke weed, champions do. Many of the adventure athletes train with cannabis.”

Frappier said he thinks cannabis could be used to help athletes focus and get “in the flow.”

He said he’s currently working on securing a storefront in the center of Easthampton for a planned opening this fall or early 2019, but didn’t disclose a specific location.

“It’s one-time use,” he said. “It’s not [going to be] a dispensary. You can come in and you can only buy single-use at a time and consume it there, Frappier, who plans on applying for a potential social consumption license, said. “You can smoke it on premise, but you can’t leave with it.”

Frappier said he said he also hopes to offer cannabis infused healthy food options at the lounge after the business opens.

The state’s Cannabis Control Commission approved draft regulations on Dec. 21, which includes a decision to permit social consumption, but the commission plans to form a working group to make recommendations about smoking in regards to social consumption by July 1. It’s uncertain at this time whether the state would allow smoking under social consumption.  

Easthampton Assistant Planner Jamie Webb said it’s not clear as to whether smoking as a social consumption would be allowed in Easthampton. A draft ordinance regarding recreational marijuana was recently approved by the Planning Board and has been sent to the City Council, which has yet to vote on the ordinance. The next hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Municipal Building.

She said there was no consensus with the Planning Board as to whether social consumption would be allowed as per state regulations. Social consumption might need a public vote for approval, but the city is still waiting on guidance from the state in order to finalize the ordinance.

Another issue that threatens the budding recreational marijuana industry in Massachusetts is marijuana’s illegality at the federal level.  Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions sent out a federal memo in January, which stated that the Department of Justice would rescind nationwide guidance regarding marijuana enforcement. The memo encouraged federal prosecutors to examine states with legalization laws.

 Cafe Vert, is another business in Easthampton that would be cannabis related by blending a coffeehouse atmosphere with cannabinoid-infused products. Cafe Vert is planned to open sometime in late spring or early summer.

Despite the concerns for the industry and marijuana’s illegality at the federal level, Frappier said he isn’t too worried.

“I’m not concerned – the benefits outweigh the risks,” he said. “I think that people are realizing that Massachusetts is pioneering a lot of aspects of [the industry] and making it so much better. I’m really proud of that.”

Chronic Trips also hosts outdoor adventures, which don’t involve cannabis. These trips take place on a nearly weekly basis at different locations across the Pioneer Valley and include hiking and group explorations of nature in Western Massachusetts, one of which is planned for Feb. 15.

Chris Goudreau can be reached at cgoudreau@valleyadvocate.com.

Author: Chris Goudreau

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