Most of the states that have taken longer than New Jersey to implement their legal markets were hampered by delays, and the states that launched sales quickly faced shortages and ceded much of their markets to multistate operators. Murphy and New Jersey’s regulators have said they want to avoid out-of-state operators taking over the market here.
A Murphy spokesperson deferred comment to the commission. Its executive director, Jeff Brown, noted the commission is working to prepare medical marijuana dispensaries — alternative treatment centers (ATCs) — to expand and sell recreational cannabis while the adult-use market remains in limbo.
“The goal is to help ATCs meet the criteria that ensures the needs of medicinal patients are met, and to ensure across all providers that there is not a strain on supply, that municipal compliance is satisfied, and that the market can open safely, and so that equity is prioritized,” Brown said.
New Jersey’s regulators have worried about equity in the state’s cannabis sector. Enabling legislation — signed into law by Murphy in February 2021 — requires the state set aside 30% of recreational marijuana licenses for women, disabled veterans, and people of color. Rules adopted by the commission also seek to ensure small operators — and not multi-state corporations — get a foothold in the state’s legal market.