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Why you still can’t buy legal pot in N.J. 16 months after voters gave the go-ahead

Medical marijuana companies in New Jersey have been clamoring for months for permission from regulators to sell recreational weed to adults. A year ago, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law that allowed such a regulated cannabis industry to operate in the state.

The companies say they are ready and have been pressuring the fledgling New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission through the media since late October to let them get started. They say they’ve boosted inventories and added hundreds of staff in anticipation of recreational sales starting by the law’s one-year anniversary on Tuesday.

But that doesn’t mean the firms have met the requirements under the law — the Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act — and the initial regulations that the commission issued in August. Key requirements are local permissions and adequate supply for the medical market.

“There’s an effort to pressure us to move forward in a way that’s not compliant with the law, and that’s just simply not going to happen,” said Jeff Brown, the cannabis commission’s executive director, during the commission’s Jan. 27 meeting, clearly annoyed and frustrated.

The tension reflects the drive of investors behind companies with locations in multiple states trying to build momentum and capture market share in the 18 states — including nearby New York and Connecticut — that have legalized cannabis for adults, with more expected. The market is moving fast, but it also takes patience because every state is different. [Read more at The Philadelphia Inquirer]

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