Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam is heading to Las Vegas on Thursday to attend a fact-finding trip to gather information about legalized marijuana in another gaming state.
Gilliam said this week he was invited to attend the Wednesday-to-Friday trip and planned to be at the conference with lawmakers by Thursday. He said he is interested in learning from Nevada officials about the benefits of legal recreational marijuana in the state with a gambling city.
“I think Atlantic City would be a good fit for it,” he said. “I wanted to be proactive.”
The New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association coordinated the trip with the Nevada legislature in order to show New Jersey officials an example of a state with regulated marijuana, said Dara Servis, the executive director of the NJCIA.
Gov. Phil Murphy has proposed legalizing recreational marijuana in the state, which could bring in an estimated $300 million in revenue.
Murphy also signed an executive order in January that aims to ease regulations on medical marijuana, ordering a review of the state’s existing medical marijuana program. The program currently has limitations on which conditions qualify for marijuana prescriptions.
When Gilliam met with Murphy last week to discuss the city’s relationship with the state, he said he also spoke with the governor about the possibility of legal recreational marijuana.
Gilliam has previously said he supports legalizing marijuana in the resort for potential economic and social and criminal-justice benefits. He said he doesn’t know what the legalization regulations would look like in the city but is open to learning more.
In a resort like Atlantic City with a deep history during the Prohibition era and one of the first city outside of Nevada to have legalized casino gaming, Gilliam said he thinks legal marijuana could be a boost.
“It’s a natural fit for us to also be one of the first to roll out (cannabis),” he said. “We’re named the world’s playground for a reason.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.