- Associated Press - Friday, November 27, 2015

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - 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 Monday at The Higher Calling Club, which opened Monday in a remodeled former wine bar downtown, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (https://bit.ly/1Xlw3KW) 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.

Alaska voters in 2014 approved recreational use of marijuana and the state Marijuana Control Board said retail pot shop licenses will be granted starting in May. Mooers, however, said his business is legal because no pot will be sold on the premises and it is not a business prohibited by the 2014 law.

“This is America,” he said. “The law doesn’t get to tell us what we can do, it tells us what we can’t do. There is no law that says we can’t do this.”

Last week, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board voted to allow for marijuana consumption at some pot shops when they open.

The board scrapped a proposed regulation banning marijuana clubs. Board chairman Bruce Schulte at the time said the intent was not to sanction or endorse the clubs. He said if the board has no authority under the initiative to regulate the clubs, as an attorney for the board stated, it also could not prohibit them.

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