The Cannabis Regulatory Commission of New Jersey is conducting an investigation into how to regulate cannabis consumption lounges, among other complicated regulatory issues facing the newly legal cannabis business.
Kashawn McKinley, the Director of Constituent Services for Atlantic City, made the request at Thursday’s virtual meeting of the commission’s board of directors. Atlantic City, he says, is not just the state’s largest conference town, but also the East Coast’s convention hub. This has led officials in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to discuss the possibility of cannabis consumption lounges.
He suggested that the panel examine large-scale consumption locations around the city, both indoor and outdoor. “Cannabis is an entirely new industry that will be driven by conventions. Atlantic City needs special provisions to capitalize on this marketplace,” McKinley said during the conference.
With out-of-state tourists, he suggested, Atlantic City would need large-scale cannabis consumption venues as well as locations for cannabis-related events. “Places like Boardwalk Hall, Convention Center and Bader Field should be allowed to host large cannabis conventions,” McKinley adds.
In the 2020 election, voters overwhelmingly approved cannabis legalization in New Jersey. Only little more than a year after Gov. Phil Murphy signed the package of laws creating the legal adult-use marijuana market, the state is still working on awarding the first commercial cannabis sales licenses. Similarly, neighboring state New York is also dealing with this obstacle.
Murphy has stated that recreational sales should start in just a few weeks, with the first sales expected to take place at the states current medical marijuana dispensaries. “I would hope in March,” Murphy responds to a question regarding recreational cannabis sales during an appearance on WBGO radio station in Newark, New Jersey.
In areas where cannabis has been legalized, concerns have been raised concerning where visitors from other states may smoke or vape cannabis. Officials in New Jersey are increasingly concerned about this, since the state relies heavily on tourism to bring in revenue.
According to McKinley of Atlantic City, marijuana is not authorized in public housing and its use may result in eviction. This is a significant issue for individuals who live in social housing stock. “If it is illegal to consume in public housing and in public, then cannabis is still illegal for an entire sector of our community,” he added.
Additionally, the commission adopted a universal warning label for cannabis products at the meeting, which has a stop sign beside a stylized cannabis leaf in a triangle and the phrase “not safe for children.” The emblem will be placed on products to indicate whether they contain cannabis or not.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.