April 19, 2023
One year after New Jersey began allowing the sale of recreational marijuana, Atlantic City will open its first licensed dispensary for adult-use cannabis. Fittingly, the opening coincides with 4/20, the unofficial national pot-smoking holiday.
On Wednesday morning, Mayor Marty Small signed the cannabis business license for MPX NJ at 153 S. New York Ave., in the city's Orange Loop bar district. The business previously operated as a medical marijuana dispensary only, but the company's website now lists the location as offering both recreational and medical cannabis. The shop is about an hour-long drive from Philadelphia, although transporting marijuana across state lines remains prohibited by federal law.
MPX NJ also has a medical dispensary in Sicklerville, Gloucester County.
The new recreational dispensary sits within Atlantic City's "Green Zone," a large part of the downtown area that has been carved out as a future cannabis destination. The city's redevelopment plan, approved last year by city planners and the state's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, aims to spur tourism and revive the economy of Atlantic City's struggling business district.
The "Green Zone" covers Atlantic and Pacific avenues from Boston to Maryland avenues, along with the Orange Loop that runs along Tennessee and New York avenues from Pacific up to 200 feet from the boardwalk. The city will not allow cannabis sales on the boardwalk.
Planning documents say the city anticipates multiple permissible classes of recreational cannabis in the "Green Zone" that will capitalize on a growth industry.
Last month, plans were solidified for the upcoming High Rollers Dispensary, which will occupy a 10,000-square-foot space covering two floors of the Claridge Hotel, a former casino at 123 S. Indiana Ave. The cannabis lounge will offer a place for people to buy and consume recreational weed products including flowers, edibles and vapes. It could open as soon as this summer, following a $3.2 million renovation that will create a new entrance at the property. The site will continue operations as a hotel and wedding venue.
Another cannabis lounge and dispensary also is in the works at the former supermarket space at 3004 Atlantic Ave.
The lounges will not be permitted to sell alcohol, although High Rollers Dispensary is planning a non-alcoholic bar and may have outdoor food options.
New Jersey now has 37 dispensaries, including 24 that sell both medical and adult-use cannabis and 13 that sell medical marijuana only.