Marijuana Club Opens In Fairbanks, And The Owners Say It’s legal

ALASKA: A marijuana club that allows consumption but not sales quietly opened this week in Fairbanks, and its owners say they are operating within state law.

Coffee and doughnuts were out for customers at The Higher Calling Club, which opened Monday in a remodeled former wine bar downtown, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported. Patrons could sit on overstuffed couches or use a foosball table.

“We’re going to have the whole cafe feel to it is what we’re looking for,” said Marcus Mooers, who owns the business with his wife, Megan. “As you can see, we’re trying really hard not to just run some kind of stoner slum house.”

Club members can smoke pot or eat pot-infused foods but cannot buy or sell marijuana inside the building. The cost to join is $10 per day or $25 per month.

Proposed New Law Aims To Allow Cannabis In Bars And Clubs, But Is That The Best Way To Socially Smoke Pot?

COLORADO:  It’s a busy afternoon at The Lazy Lion, a members-only marijuana club in this notoriously conservative city. Inside the windowless one-story building in an industrial part of town, attendees who’ve paid the club’s $5 daily membership fee line up at a glass bar to acquire bags of marijuana or take hits from one of the establishment’s water pipes, for which they hand over a cash “reimbursement” (under Colorado law, people aren’t allowed to consume cannabis at locations licensed to sell marijuana).

Colorado Springs has banned recreational-marijuana shops in the city, but its zoning laws allow for private clubs, which is where establishments such as The Lazy Lion fit in. These sorts of gathering places are desperately needed, says the club’s general manager, Aaron Stone. “A lot of time on the retail side, people leave the stores with misinformation, and don’t know how to use what they buy,” he says, noting that in its two-and-a-half year run, The Lazy Lion has played host to job interviews, homework sessions and even post-wedding celebrations.

But would Colorado tourists or marijuana novices really feel at ease inside a place such as The Lazy Lion? And if not, where should people go to consume cannabis with their peers? Marijuana, with its pass-the-joint cultural heritage, has always been a social drug. But so far, recreational-marijuana laws have steadfastly avoided dealing with the social parameters of cannabis use. Colorado and other states that have legalized marijuana have outlawed public cannabis consumption, but what about consumption behind closed doors and among consenting adults? It’s a conundrum that has major financial and social implications for the developing legal marijuana industry.

A proposed Denver initiative aims to solve the problem by allowing establishments like bars to permit limited marijuana consumption on the premises, but people are torn as to whether marijuana use should be segregated in separate-but-equal cannabis establishments or integrated with other vices such as alcohol.