There was a day when only drug addicts ventured into alphabet city to cop. It was in a state of decay. People were afraid of it and for good reason. Slowly it inched toward safety and hegemony. Eventually it crossed the river into Brooklyn. Now Brooklyn has enjoyed a renaissance, there is even a cache with being young and living in Brooklyn, well, parts of it anyway. Somehow, all the renewed interest in the urban lifestyle escaped Newark. Poor Newark, try as it might it remains the joke of the northeast. Even with young, dynamic, dedicated Cory Booker as mayor, Newark just can’t seem to get condos and Starbucks like many of the other formerly murderously dangerous ‘hoods in the NYC metro area. Or can it? Can Newark be chic? Could the hip skip a weekend in the Hampton’s to go to an event in Newark?
New Jersey has had legal gaming in Atlantic City for many years. Crime can surround gambling if it is not regulated and gambling can be addictive, so how is it that New Jersey can rationalize this? Under the Joe urban renewal plan, marijuana would be decriminalized within certain blocks in Newark. A license would be granted by the state and city to dispense Marijuana in it’s various forms. It would be taxed at $20 per $100 with a mission of funneling that money into treatment and recovery related services such as a recovery focused charter school in the Newark school district. This could be a shot in the arm for the city. It would create a sustainable economy and a ripple effect of businesses that could flourish in the city. Maybe even develop an entire complex dedicated to Hemp. Kind of like Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade or river Walk in San Antonio. For the moment, I will wait for the current New Jersey gubernatorial election to be over and then I will get on this right away. Crazy? I would love to hear feedback.