(AP) — California is taking applications to license its emerging legal marijuana industry.
Recreational pot sales will begin in California on Jan. 1, joining the state's long-running medical cannabis market.
The state on Friday kicked off the process of considering temporary licenses for what is expected to be thousands of retailers, distributors and testing labs in the new marketplace.
Top state pot regulator Lori Ajax says the opening of the online system moves the state "one step closer to issuing California's first state licenses for commercial cannabis activity."
The temporary licenses will not be effective until Jan. 1, and businesses need a local permit before applying for state licenses.
The state projects it will collect $1 billion in new taxes from pot sales and other activity within several years.