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Get Ready, New Jersey: Legal Weed Sales Could Begin Within Weeks

The Garden State is about to get a lot greener.

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This story originally appeared on Benzinga

After missing a self-imposed deadline to open the state for legal marijuana sales, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) said the state is "within weeks" of having existing medical weed dispensaries sell recreational cannabis to adults 21 and older.

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"If I had to predict, we are within weeks — I would hope in March — you would see implicit movement on the medical dispensaries, some of them being able to sell recreational," Murphy said during his radio show on WBGO in Newark. "They've got to prove they've got the supply for their medical customers. I hope shortly thereafter, the standalone recreational marijuana operators."

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The voters went big for legalization

New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved legalizing recreational marijuana in November 2020, but sales have not started after more than a year.

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), which is in charge of regulating the new industry, is still reviewing applications for licenses. The panel missed a self-imposed Feb. 22 deadline to open the state for adult-use cannabis.

So far, New Jersey has 23 medical cannabis dispensaries selling to the more than 120,000 registered patients in the state.

"One of the biggest deficiencies we're seeing is a lack of municipal approval," said Jeff Brown, head of the CRC at a meeting in January. "That's an issue, and supply continues to be an issue. It's the priority of the CRC to get recreational sales started as soon as we can, but we have to do it in a way that's compliant with the law. We need the industry to get there."

Meanwhile, several medical marijuana providers have openly complained the state is taking too long to approve their requests to serve the legal market. Some have even threatened to lay off workers and destroy cannabis product if the adult market doesn't open soon.