The Costa Mesa Planning Commission gave the green light to another medical marijuana manufacturing and distribution facility Monday night.
Commissioners voted unanimously to grant a conditional use permit for Nature’s Market, which plans to open in an existing 24,379-square-foot industrial building at 1675 Toronto Way.
It is the sixth medical marijuana facility the commission has approved for the area of the city where businesses that research, test, process and manufacture such products are allowed under Measure X, an initiative approved by local voters in 2016. The area is north of South Coast Drive and west of Harbor Boulevard.
The commission’s vote is final unless appealed to the City Council within seven days.
Costa Mesa still prohibits retail sales of marijuana and marijuana products. Activities at Nature’s Market would include “extraction, manufacturing/processing, packaging, staging, storage and distribution of cannabis products,” according to planning documents.
“The processing plant takes in cannabis material to be processed into concentrated oil and packaged into cannabis vapor pens,” the documents state.
The facility can operate up to 24 hours daily. Delivery and distribution would not be permitted between midnight and 5 a.m.
Commissioner Carla Navarro Woods praised the application for its thorough description of the operation.
“Thank you for setting the bar a little higher,” she told Nature’s Market representatives who attended Monday’s meeting. “I hope that any subsequent applications really take the time to be this detailed about their own particular business.”
Before it can open, Nature’s Market must receive final fire prevention, finance and building safety approvals from the city as well as a medical marijuana business permit and business license. State approval also is required.
The city has a litany of other requirements for medical marijuana businesses, including detailed security plans generally including installing alarms, cameras and lighting and having specified controlled-access areas. Also, anyone younger than 21 may not be allowed onsite, and cannabis cannot be consumed at the business at any time in any form.
Ann Parker, the only resident who spoke Monday about the Nature’s Market application, expressed concern with the operation’s safety and security, particularly in transporting products.
“I don’t think the city of Costa Mesa has one clue what it’s getting into,” she said.
Commission Vice Chairman Byron de Arakal pointed out that residents approved Measure X and said he thinks “the best thing to do is to abide by what the voters put in place [and] watch how the state regulates these.”
“Just to say no because ‘we don’t know what we’re getting into’ I don’t think is the right way to go,” he said.