Half Moon Bay pumpkin farmers hoping for chance to grow businesses with cannabis

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- Some traditional pumpkin farmers are looking for a change, and a chance to grow their businesses by turning to cannabis.

Each autumn, the pumpkin festival attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the small coastal town of Half Moon Bay. But, the defeat of ballot measure GG, some farmers say, could smash the pumpkin industry for good.

"This is real. Sadly, it's not propaganda. It's real," Eda Muller said.

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Eda and John Muller own iconic Farmer Johns Pumpkin Farm.

"We're third generation living on the farm. We don't want to leave it. This is our home. We don't have anywhere to go," said Eda.

They are like many farmers, struggling to survive. Pumpkins and the vegetables they grown can no longer sustain them.

Measure GG would allow starter marijuana plants to be grown in existing greenhouses in zoned areas under heavy regulation.

"We do want a crop to make us sustainable in the near future," Eda said.

The Mullers say a cannabis company has offered to pay them nearly $1 million a year in rental fees to grow started plants in green houses on another piece of their property about a mile from their pumpkin farm.

The company would also rebuild their old greenhouses.

But measure GG has been controversial. Opponents like Reverend Lisa Warner-Carey believe it would make pot more accessible to young people in the community. What's more, hispanic community leaders she says are also opposed because it puts farm workers at risk.

"It puts them on the radar of the federal government when they're participating in an industry that's illegal federally," Warner-Carey said.
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