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Struggling Pumpkin Farmers Turn to the Cannabis Industry

Struggling Pumpkin Farmers Turn to the Cannabis Industry

For many people living in Half Moon Bay, California, the city is the “pumpkin capital of the world.” Even so, growing pumpkins and selling them for a couple months each year may not be enough activity to support the local economy.

That’s why the city is looking at expanding cannabis cultivation in the area. Now, if a new measure passes next month, pumpkin farmers would be able to make a smooth transition to also growing weed.

Pumpkin Farming to Cannabis Farming

In November, Half Moon Bay residents will vote on a series of local proposals. Several of them have to do with legal marijuana.

For starters, there’s Measure AA. This one introduces a new tax on everything related to the legal cannabis industry. That includes cultivation, production, and point of sale.

Then there’s Measure GG. This is the proposal that would most directly impact local farmers—especially local pumpkin farmers.

Measure GG would make it legal for farmers to use the farming spaces and equipment they’re already using, but for cannabis cultivation.

More specifically, Measure GG would allow farmers to convert the greenhouses they’re already using into cannabis grows. At this point, the measure only allows farmers to grow small immature marijuana plants.

But even though the measure wouldn’t allow for full plant-to-flower cultivation, many in the area see it as a valuable chance to expand agricultural activity in the region.

For example, local pumpkin farmer John Muller talked about Measure GG with local news source KPIX 5. From the sound of things, he represents the cohort of farmers in favor of the new proposal.

In particular, he told local sources that it’s become very difficult to survive strictly by growing and selling pumpkins. For him, the ability to seamlessly add cannabis cultivation to the mix would be a welcome source of additional income.

“I think it’s very important for us to find a crop that could produce a little more profit for us to stay in agriculture,” he said.

Of course, not everyone is on board with Measure GG. In any case, Half Moon Bay residents will have the chance to vote on the issue next month.

The Economic Impact of Legal Cannabis

Half Moon Bay is certainly not the first city to turn to the legal marijuana industry for an economic boost. In fact, there are many towns and cities that have done precisely that.

And not just from the agricultural side. Some cities have had success in the retail space and others have opened the door to increased production activity.

Here are some examples of towns and cities that have managed to leverage the legal cannabis industry to improve the local economy:

  • Trinidad, Colorado – This small town in southern Colorado was struggling until it embraced recreational weed. Now, it’s known for its string of vibrant dispensaries. The city is using new income from taxes to rebuild and fix infrastructure.
  • Adelanto, California – Local lawmakers turned to cannabis cultivation when they realized that they “had a city to save” from economic ruin.
  • Huntington, Oregon – This small town in eastern Oregon is home to around 400 people. Local dispensaries report serving almost that many customers every day. Most of those customers are visitors from other places. Recreational weed has breathed new life into this town.

And that list could go on and on. Depending on how things play out, Half Moon Bay could become the newest town on the list.

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