The CRDA Approves Atlantic City’s Cannabis Lounge

The New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) recently approved the plan for a cannabis consumption lounge and dispensary near Atlantic City’s Boardwalk. The “High Rollers Dispensary” will be in The Claridge hotel at S. Indiana Avenue facing Pacific Avenue.

The CRDA’s role is to enhance community and economic development using revenue that the town’s nine casinos have generated. Also, it monitors land-use planning in the Atlantic City Tourism District that covers regions near the nine casinos.

The district includes the Marina District, the Atlantic City Convention Center grounds, and Bader Field.

The development authority signed several projects last week, such as the “High Rollers Dispensary.” The retail business will have 10,000 square feet of space. Yet, it will partly occupy a section of The Claridge’s first floor and second floor.

It is a non-gaming hotel adjacent to the Boardwalk, but they aren’t directly related. Instead, the new gaming business will be behind the Korean War Memorial and Brighton Park, and it will follow the CRDA’s regulations that prohibit recreational cannabis facilities from touching the Boardwalk directly. Agri-Kind is a Pennsylvania cannabis dispenser and cultivator that is near the High Rollers Dispensary.

The City’s Weed Zone

The state’s voters passed a 2020 recreational marijuana referendum. This led to the establishment of cannabis dispensaries in the Garden State. But, it only has one dispensary, The Botanist in Egg Harbor Township near Atlantic City.

There are two medical-only dispensaries in Atlantic City proper, a Botanist on the Boardwalk and MPX NJ along New York Avenue. The CRDA intends to prevent the construction of cannabis lounges and dispensaries on the Boardwalk. Still, it plans to relocate dispensaries that are in its “Green Zone” near Pacific Avenue.

The Green Zone is between Boston Avenue and Maryland Avenue. Even so, federal regulations ban commercial casinos from taking part in all cannabis consumption operations.

The federal government ranks it as a Schedule 1 narcotic, thus prohibiting its usage in casinos. Besides, state gaming regulations compel all gaming venues to follow banking and federal laws.

The State Needs to Approve the Dispensary

New Jersey is still creating consumption lounges rules. There are regions where medicinal and recreational users can buy TCH-rich products.

The “High Rollers Dispensary” developers have to get a consumption lounge license from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission once it opens this year’s license application window.

The High Rollers Dispensary’s construction thrills players even though the city’s cannabis facilities and casinos are incompatible. The property will be on a former casino’s site once it gets a state license. The Claridge launched as a hotel and casino in 1930.

Bally’s Corporation purchased it in 2000 and it was a boutique casino and single hotel tower for the resort. The Ridge ceased gaming operations in 2012. Caesars Entertainment sold the hotel in 2013 to TJM Properties.

TJM owned and operated the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel in the Boardwalk between May 2014 and 2019. Colosseo Development Group, a New York real estate firm, wants to transform the casino to a high-end condominium tower.

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