Since last November when New Jersey voters elected pro-marijuana legalization Governor Phil Murphy, people have waited for the state to finally pull the trigger on recreational cannabis. But there's one city in particular that can't wait for legalization.
Asbury Park is set to become New Jersey's capital for marijuana. The town's population is only 16,000, but there are a number of factors that indicate it will be a huge market for cannabis. It's one of only two cities in the state's that's openly discussed how the marijuana industry could help grow the town. And it's located on the northern part of the Jersey Shore, which makes it an ideal destination for New Jersey residents as well as tourists from New York. It's also a cultural destination, known for the famous music venue The Stone Pony, which helped launch the careers of Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.
The city's already received inquiries from at least 30 different parties interested in opening a dispensary in Asbury Park. Current proposals in New Jersey would allow two to 10 dispensaries in each of the state's legislative districts, so there's more than enough interest in Asbury already.
It also helps that other Jersey Shore cities, such as Point Pleasant Beach and Seaside Heights, have both already banned marijuana businesses. So Asbury Park could be one of the few options along the famous Jersey Shore where cannabis will be available. Just look at Venice Beach in California to see how well marijuana businesses and beach towns go together.
Of course, it's not clear when New Jersey will actually legalize marijuana. Murphy originally intended to legalize cannabis within his first 100 days in office, but there's strong opposition in the state legislature preventing it. He still hopes to accomplish it by year's end, but it will require a lot of arm-twisting to get there.