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Can Legalizing Marijuana Help to Save Atlantic City?

In 1976, New Jersey citizens voted to give Atlantic City the sole authority to operate casinos, a decision that saved the famed but fading seaside resort from collapse.

Now 40 years later, a state Assemblyman wants the public to decide whether Atlantic City — once again in economic peril — ought to be the only community in the state where the sale and consumption of marijuana is permitted.

State Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) said a bill he plans to introduce Thursday would place a question on the ballot that asks voters to permit the commercial cultivation, sale and consumption of marijuana by adults 21 and older within city limits.

The Attorney General’s Office would regulate AC’s pot market like it oversees the gaming industry, according to the bill. Half of the proceeds from the 20 percent sales tax would go to the city’s coffers; 30 percent would fund road projects; and 10 percent each pay for women’s health programs and drug enforcement efforts.

Although he is a supporter of legalizing and decriminalizing pot, Gusciora said the chief aim of this bill is to generate cash for Atlantic City, which has seen half of its tax ratable base evaporate with the closing of four casinos. [Read more at]

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