Matt Petrillo reports.
- Legalized recreational marijuana in New Jersey is expected to bring in tax revenue and jobs. But some towns are passing on the opportunity. The news continues now at 5:30. Several shore towns are now taking action to ban recreational marijuana sales in their communities.
Matt Petrillo is in Atlantic City to explain why. Hi, Matt.
MATT PETRILLO: Hey, Jess. Communities here in the Garden State have until the end of July to decide whether or not they want to prohibit recreational marijuana in public places. And here in Atlantic City and all along the Jersey Shore, it's become a big debate among mayors.
- Atlantic City is going to opt in.
MATT PETRILLO: This shop on the AC boardwalk is a medical marijuana dispensary called The Botanist. And it could soon sell adult-use cannabis now that it's legal to smoke here in the Garden State.
- It's going to benefit the great city of Atlantic City, provide jobs, another revenue stream. I'm all for it.
MATT PETRILLO: Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small is embracing recreational cannabis, hoping it'll bring the area additional revenue through a sales tax.
- We look at it as an exciting new industry, business opportunity.
MATT PETRILLO: But other communities down the shore oppose it.
DAN CABRERA: We just don't think it's a good fit for a family-friendly vacation resort.
MATT PETRILLO: The Wildwood Crest mayor is now working to introduce an ordinance that, if passed, would ban recreational marijuana in certain public areas in his community, something other shore towns are also looking to do.
DAN CABRERA: Whatever you did on your own private property, rental property, what have you, that's totally your business. But, you know, from our standpoint, from a zoning perspective, we don't want to see it in any of our business districts, hotel districts, and what have you.
MATT PETRILLO: Meantime, both visitors to the Jersey Shore and those who live here have mixed reactions.
- I do think it's OK to legalize it.
- They're going to smoke it anyway. So what difference do it make?
- It's already tough over here. That'll just make it even worse, [INAUDIBLE], I think.
MATT PETRILLO: And the state law also says if communities like here in Atlantic City do not pass ordinances that prohibit the use of recreational marijuana in public places, they won't be able to do so in the next five years. Reporting live in Atlantic City, Matt Petrillo, CBS 3 Eyewitness News.