Atlantic City: Claridge Hotel’s Former Gambling Casino To Become New Jersey’s First Cannabis Lounge

March 1, 2023 · Benzinga

New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved a proposal that would bring a 10,000-square-foot cannabis dispensary and lounge to Atlantic City’s historic Claridge Hotel and former gambling casino where Marilyn Monroe once judged the Miss America Pageant. 

The Claridge Hotel, which opened in 1930 during the Great Depression as the last of the great hotels built near Atlantic City’s Boardwalk, is making space for the High Rollers Dispensary on what used to be its casino floor. The Claridge is now a stand-alone hotel with no gambling. 

Because the Claridge does not technically lie adjacent to or share a boundary with Atlantic City’s Boardwalk – it is separated by a park and a Korean War Memorial – it is not subject to the city’s restrictions against recreational cannabis on the boardwalk. And, since it is no longer a casino, it is not subjected to federal restrictions.

Jon Cohn, a co-owner of High Rollers Dispensary said the company is close to finalizing its lease from the Claridge and will soon embark on $3.2 million in renovations, reported pressofatlantic.com.

“We feel it’s a good fit for the city as a whole, to utilize cannabis for tourism,” said Cohn, whose company is also licensed to build a cultivation facility on a nearby vacant tract of land. “You can’t be on the Boardwalk, but it’s relatively close.”  

In 2022, Atlantic City established a “green zone” to encourage cannabis tourism.

If all goes according to the proposal and if it gets the nod from the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which is expected, adults over 21 will be allowed to consume cannabis on the premises, just steps from the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk.  

Though New Jersey’s current regulations do not permit any alcohol or food to be sold inside consumption lounges, those provisions have been subject to criticism during a public comment period, which ends March 18.

Booming Weed Market

Since recreational cannabis sales became legal in New Jersey on April 21, 2022, the marijuana market has grown by leaps and bounds and continues to constantly evolve into a dynamic industry. 

Multi-state operators in New Jersey include Acreage Holdings 

ACRDF Ascend Wellness AAWH, AYR Wellness AYRWF Curaleaf CURLF, Green Thumb GTBIF, Columbia Care CCHWF TerrAscend TRSSF and Verano Holdings VRNOF.

If all goes well, High Rollers Dispensary could open as early as this coming summer. (Full Story)

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