Wed Jul 24,11:08 AM ET SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Francisco officials want their city to go to pot -- literally. The leaders of this liberal West Coast bastion are proposing that the city get into the marijuana growing business -- and use the program as agricultural job training for the unemployed. Under a measure approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Monday, voters will be asked in November whether the city should look into ways to begin growing medical marijuana for sick people -- in direct defiance of federal laws banning the drug. "If the federal government insists on standing in our way locally, we must take matters into our own hands and protect the lives of our community members and protect their right to access life-saving medicine," said city Supervisor Mark Leno, who sponsored the measure approved by city leaders Monday. Under Leno's proposal, voters will be offered a November ballot measure which would direct the municipal government to study how to grow and supply pot for patients who qualify to use it under California's landmark medicinal marijuana law of 1996. That law -- which led to "medical marijuana clubs" being established across the state -- has been repeatedly challenged in court by federal officials, who say flatly that marijuana remains illegal. Many of California's marijuana clubs have shut down voluntarily, while others have been closed by federal raids. Leno said getting the city government involved could help to take the pressure off local suppliers. "I think the federal government and the Bush Administration has bigger fish to fry right now than continuing to bust local clubs," Leno said. He said San Francisco has plenty of places where it could grow marijuana, and could even use the program as agricultural job training for the unemployed. "We have a lot of land. That's not going to be a problem," Leno told the San Francisco Chronicle. But federal officials cautioned that San Francisco would be picking a serious legal fight if it sought to turn its vacant lots into pot farms. "Cultivation, possession and distribution of marijuana is illegal under the Controlled Substances Act -- federal law," Richard Meyer, spokesman for the DEA's regional office in San Francisco, told the newspaper. "Unless Congress changes the law and makes marijuana a legal substance, then we have to do our job and enforce the law, whether or not it's popular," Meyer said.