FAIRBANKS — The Higher Calling cannabis club has closed. Owners Marcus and Megan Mooers announced the Friday closure on the club’s Facebook page, citing low membership and a leaky roof at the First Avenue building where the club resided for the last four months.
The Higher Calling club was one of the first pot-related businesses to open in Fairbanks after voters in 2014 decriminalized marijuana.
At least two new garden supply stores have also opened, and the borough is starting to issue permits for marijuana stores and cultivation operations, which are expected to open later this year.
The Higher Calling hosted live music, comedy, pot-plant trading and other activities, but failed to attract a large enough following, according to Marcus Mooers.
An estimated 400 people had joined for a day, paying $10, or for a month, paying $40.
Here is what the Mooers told their supporters on The High Calling’s Facebook page:
“This is in no way due to political pressure and we will continue to fight for small business, the cannabis industry and for your personal rights, and hopefully we can find a new location for the club.”
Landlord Nick Stepovich said the Mooers fell behind on the rent and agreed to move out.
“They worked hard and tried, but if you can’t pay the rent, what can you do?” Stepovich said. “They couldn’t make any money there. That’s the bottom line.”
The club was haunted by allegations that its existence violated state law, which prohibits using pot in public, though the state made no attempts to close the place.
An ordinance going before the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly on April 14 would require cannabis businesses to have a state license to operate in the borough.
Pot clubs are not among the businesses where the state is offering a license.
The Mooers maintain pot clubs are legal under the First Amendment freedom of people to peaceably assemble.
Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7587. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.