A medical marijuana distribution and transportation company proposed for a new district in the city took a big step forward after the Planning Commission voted unanimously to grant it a necessary permit, the second business to receive one in as many weeks.

The conditional use permit allows CMX Distribution to continue the application process in its bid to open a 4,722-square-foot facility in an existing warehouse at 3505 Cadillac Ave. CMX plans to distribute and transport cannabis products to marijuana dispensaries or product manufacturers, said owner Robert Taft.

The facility would include offices and a secured storage space and parking for two delivery trucks.

The company would be one of several types of medical marijuana-related businesses allowed in the city under Measure X, an initiative approved by voters last year that allows the businesses to operate in a northwest zone of the city.

Last month, the commission unanimously approved the city’s first conditional use permit for an extraction facility on Cadillac Avenue.

Much of the Planning Commission’s inquiries at the meeting Monday, Dec. 11 centered on security and safety.

Plans call for work to be performed to secure the interior and exterior of the building. In addition, the structure would be outfitted with a panic button, motion detector alarms, security video cameras and all cannabis would be stored in a secured room only accessible by authorized personnel, according to the permit application.

“I don’t remember any other application that we’ve ever had that has anything close to the attention to security as we’ve had with this application,” said commission Chair Stephan Andranian. “This is probably double or triple the treatment on security as we had at the last application.”

Proposed business hours are 7 a.m.-7 p.m., but could increase to a 24-hour operation if demand warrants, Taft said.

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Taft, who also owns the 420 Central marijuana dispensary in Santa Ana, said he has partnered with other medical marijuana business owners to regulate themselves in an effort to alleviate safety concerns.

He abandoned his own competing measure to allow up to eight dispensaries in Costa Mesa in support of Measure X.

“Measure X means a lot to me,” he said. “We’re going to hold this high and with our association, we’re going to make sure this is a winner.”

He said he wants to open up other marijuana-related businesses in Costa Mesa for research, development and manufacturing.

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Some residents raised concerns that the city is not prepared to handle the code enforcement issues that could arise from the businesses.

Jim Fitzpatrick, a representative for CMX, said the cannabis industry is one of the highest regulated in the state, and given the rigid security measures each applicant must adhere to, the marijuana district is going to be the safest part of Costa Mesa.”

CMX still needs to secure more approvals and a business license from the city as well as an OK from the state.

All applicants must get a medical marijuana business permit, business license and conditional use permit.

Each operator in the medical marijuana district also will have to abide by several conditions. No cannabis can be consumed on the property and people younger than 21 will not be allowed in the area.

The commission’s decision is final within seven days unless appealed to the City Council.

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