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Nuns Lose Fight Against Cannabis Shop 150 Feet From Convent As Atlantic City Aims To Be East Coast Weed Hub

Updated: Dec 27, 2023




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Catholic nuns in Atlantic City, N.J. lost their bid to block a dispensary just 150 feet from their home as city officials approved the business in what they’re calling a bid to make the area the weed capital of the East Coast.


Mayor Marty Small Sr.'s administration sees the new cannabis businesses as powerful economic engines, potentially attracting investment and jobs into the city. Kashawn "Kash" McKinley, the city's cannabis czar, echoes this sentiment. 


“My focus is to make Atlantic City great, to make Atlantic City the East Coast hub for cannabis,” McKinley told Delaware Online in April. 


Neighboring Nuns Object


Nuns from the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal Convent, which was established in the South Bronx in 1988, voiced concerns about the dispensary's proximity to their classes, including those they offer to teenagers as well as sobriety meetings, reported the New York Post. They also expressed concern about crime escalating in the area. 


Sister Joseph Van Munster, drawing on her Dutch experience with legal marijuana, told the CRDA at a hearing in November that a new dispensary could be harmful for people dealing with substance abuse issues working toward recovery. 


“I’m actually Dutch, so I grew up in a country where marijuana was legalized, and I’ve seen a lot of things over the years,” Sister Joseph Van Munster said.

This isn't the first time religious groups have clashed with Atlantic City's cannabis ambitions. Over the summer, members of the Chelsea Baptist Church spoke out against a planned cannabis business about a block away — but that, too, wound up being approved by the board.


Jersey’s Booming Weed Market

Since recreational cannabis sales became legal in New Jersey on April 21, 2022, the marijuana market has grown by leaps and bounds and continues to evolve into a dynamic industry. 

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