California opens online system to license new pot industry

FILE - In this April 23, 2017, file photo, large jars of marijuana are on display for sale at the Cali Gold Genetics booth during the High Times Cannabis Cup in San Bernardino, Calif. California is kicking off recreational marijuana sales on Jan. 1, 2018, but there will be plenty of confusion as the new market takes shape. Some places are banning sales, while only a small number appear ready to issue licenses. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

LOS ANGELES (KRON) — 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.

San Francisco will not be ready for sales on New Year’s Day when recreational weed becomes legal statewide.

However, more than 40 San Francisco outlets that are currently authorized to sell medical marijuana could start selling adult-use pot by Jan. 6 if they meet local and state requirements.

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.

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