AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine's path to legalized sales of marijuana has cleared a major hurdle with the state making applications for retail businesses available.

The state Office of Marijuana Policy said Thursday that license seekers can now start the application process to open businesses that sell marijuana for recreational adult use.

Maine is also taking applications from businesses that want to manufacture or cultivate marijuana for adult use.

Marijuana office director Erik Gundersen said the acceptance of applications meets a goal the department had to make them available by the end of the year.