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Cannabis Events Just Might Save Atlantic City

Atlantic City in New Jersey, USA could regain its former glory as a tourist spot with the Green Rush boom and subsequent cannabis business events. Experts believe cannabis business-to–business events may solve this problem in a city that was once heavily dominated by the gaming industry.

The familiar “glitter and sleaze” of Atlantic City’s boardwalk is known to locals, but the city has been on the decline for decades. Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal casino and hotel closed for good on October 10, 2016, and things haven’t gotten any easier for the gambling industry since then. Revel Casino Hotel was next, and it too closed its doors. It was also sold.

The situation seemed worse for 2019 and, despite a rise in the revenue of the casino industry in 2021, which was mostly due to tax breaks, the city remains far away from what it once was. In addition, Atlantic City Tropicana’s workers are picketing for better pay and to unionize as the casino’s future remains uncertain. 

However, the economic effects of the rollout of the cannabis market could be the answer to the city’s long-term financial woes. New Jersey’s first month with adult-use cannabis sales brought in $24 Million in tax revenue.

Skift Meetings, focused on event professionals, released a recent report about the true potential Atlantic City offers for the Green Rush—putting more than a bandaid on the city’s economic fallout.

It is easy to see the obvious parallel in Las Vegas’ boom in business events, like MJBizCon and CHAMPS Trade Show. These attract thousands of people looking for opportunities to network. Atlantic City is home to 17,029 hotel rooms—a high ratio of rooms compared to other cities of its size as it is designed for tourism. Atlantic City is a potential venue for large-scale, similar events.

Stu Zakim, president of Bridge Strategic Communications and a member of the Marijuana Business Association said “[Atlantic City] can be a wildly successful destination to host cannabis conventions,” Zakim told Skift Meetings.

Others agreed with the sentiment that New Jersey’s cannabis market was ideal for Atlantic City. That’s especially true for cannabis conventions that need large facilities.

“The legalization of cannabis in the State of New Jersey opened a new vertical market for meetings and conventions in Atlantic City. We see cannabis as a growing industry, and it will have a significant increase on the overall economic impact of the destination,” said Meet AC’s President and CEO, Larry Sieg. Meet AC’s focus is on Atlantic City convention development.

This idea is not new. Then-Democratic Assemblyman Reed Gusciora—who is now Mayor of Trenton—called for Atlantic City’s enormous potential for the cannabis boom in 2016.

Atlantic City reached its peak long ago in the 1930s as a “wet city,” and since then, has succumbed to rapid decline, and casinos are failing. Since the boom, the population of the city has declined to half its size.

The Third Annual New Jersey Cannabis Convention is taking place September 9-10 at Atlantic City Convention Center.

Since last year, the potential for legalization has grown steadily. New Jersey, which became legal for adult-use cannabis in February 2021, was named the fourteenth such state.

“The cannabis market in Atlantic City specifically is huge, untapped, and brimming with potential,” NECANN writes. “With only one major cannabis dispensary in the city. We are beyond excited to see the potential of Atlantic City’s cannabis community become a reality. NECANN prides itself on bringing personalized cannabis expos to fit the local communities and their needs.”

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