With deadline looming, Murphy says he expects medical marijuana dispensaries to be 1st to sell for recreational use

Retail outlets that already are selling cannabis for medical use likely will be the first to sell cannabis for recreational use, Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday.

Murphy, speaking on Yahoo Finance, said he thinks such dispensaries — assuming they have supply — will be selling for recreational use months before standalone recreational retail establishments are up and running.

“They will come online at some point after that,” he said.

The comments come as the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission is preparing the rules and regulations for sales in the state. It has until Aug. 22 to do so. And it is charged with the task of ensuring the rules will be created with equity in mind.

Murphy said the group is working to meet the challenge.

“We want to, most importantly, get this right,” he said. “That’s more important than the speed, but both are objectives.”

Murphy, who said his support for a recreational-use cannabis industry came from a social justice lens, said it is possible to do both.

“There’s no reason as the industry gets stood up that we cannot have it both ways — that we cannot achieve equity in who gets the licenses where the retail establishments are located, and, at the same time, have a booming new sector to our economy.

“I’m extremely optimistic we’ll be able to have both. We must have the former. And I believe we will have the latter as well.”