Pot could prove more profitable than pumpkins in Half Moon Bay

The autumnal rite of passage of picking pumpkins at this pumpkin patch on the San Mateo County coast could be in its final year. Third generation farmers John and Eda Muller say after decades of making green from their pumpkin patch and other grow items, finances are at an inflection point.

“What we’ve done in the past has not worked as well as it used to. So in order for us to keep our farming operation. We do need a crop that has a little bit more profit margin too it,” John Muller standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his wife.

That new cash crop is marijuana. The Muller’s want to lease space next to their home, about a mile and a half from the pumpkin patch, to allow the cultivation of four-inch starter marijuana plants inside a greenhouse. Eric Hollister is a father of two small children, and classically trained chef turned marijuana farmer.

“This is not a psychoactive product. And it’s not a threat to my children or any of the children,” said Hollister, who owns Keki Nursery.

The issue of marijuana, a legal crop, has become divisive in this one-time agriculture community of about 12,500 people.

“It keeps jobs on the coast-side. And if they don’t do it here, they’ll do it somewhere else,” said Thomas, a Half Moon Bay resident who declined to give his last name as he walked through downtown. Added coast resident Caroline Naito, “One of the things they’re saying is that it’ll bring more drugs into Half Moon Bay. I don’t believe that.”

The city council put the political hot-potato in the hands of voters November 6th..

“The more clear it became that this is a really polarizing issue and that it really needed to go to the voters,” said Half Moon Bay deputy city manager Matthew Chidester.

Tuesday, Half Moon Bay residents will either accept or reject Measure-GG. Put on the ballot for the purpose of allowing or disallowing the cultivation of starter marijuana plants. There are certain restrictions in place for size and location. The Muller’s hope to construct a new green house, and lease the space to Eric Hollister for marijuana cultivation. If residents vote “no” on Measure-GG, the long-time farmers say their family legacy will end.

“Well, we might have to sell (the farm). I mean that’s on the table,” said Eda Muller, as her husband fought back tears.

The issue is apparently in the hands of voters nervous over the lasting impact of change.