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Local Officials Blast Proposal to Legalize Pot in Atlantic City

The Pool After Dark, Harrah's, Atlantic City (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The Pool After Dark, Harrah’s, Atlantic City (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Gambling, nightclubs, the boardwalk – and legalized pot.

It could be a reality if one North Jersey legislator gets his way. The proposal from Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) will be formally introduced in January, the lawmaker said in an interview with New Jersey 101.5 radio over the weekend.

Gusciora said legalizing marijuana in Atlantic City would bring a new crop of gamblers to the state and rejuvenate the city’s tourism economy. The proposal is being supported by Atlantic City Council President Frank Gilliam.

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“I think people from across the country would come out here for vacations and take advantage of legalized recreational marijuana. No other casino offers this, not even Nevada, so this would be unique. It’s a way for our casinos to say that we have a unique experience,” Guscciora told the radio station.
The idea is being fiercely opposed by Ocean County officials, who say legalizing marijuana in the city would have a negative impact on the county.

“This is a ridiculous idea to attract people from other states just so they can get high in Atlantic City,” said Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari. “This is not the element we want at the Jersey Shore.”

Vicari also said he worries that people will drive their cars northbound on the Garden State Parkway after smoking marijuana in Atlantic City, endangering motorists.

Freeholder Gerry P. Little called Gusciora’s plan “one of the most ludicrous ideas ever proposed on the Statehouse floor.”

“Our Ocean County Health Department is working hard to educate children about the dangers of smoking and drug use,” Little said. “This absurd legislation would legalize the use of a gateway drug when both Atlantic City and surrounding communities are fighting a heroin epidemic.”

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