The council voted 4-1, with Foley opposed, to put a city-sponsored measure on medical marijuana on November’s ballot.

Under the measure, over-the-counter medical marijuana dispensaries would remain banned, but businesses that manufacture and test some marijuana products – such as oils for pharmaceutical purposes – would be allowed to open in the manufacturing zone north of South Coast Drive and west of Harbor Boulevard. They would be required to obtain permits from the city.

Councilman Gary Monahan said the city’s initiative would fill an important niche.

“There has to be testing; there has to be manufacturing; there has to be wholesale houses so they can deliver tested products to the retail stores,” he said.

Much like the city’s growth initiative, the purpose of the medical marijuana measure is to compete against resident-sponsored items on the same topic.

Two resident-authored measures that will be put to a vote in November would allow a small number of dispensaries – either four or eight – to operate in Costa Mesa.

Robert Taft, who sponsored one of those initiatives, said he supports the city’s measure because he thinks “the most important thing for the patients is having lab-tested, clean facilities for research and development.”

“Having a safe facility to make those medicines … would be the most important thing to me,” Taft said Tuesday.

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