There are a number of industry talking points being used to convince people that bringing commercial cannabis to Half Moon Bay is a great thing. However, they are just that, talking points, without basis in reality.

1. “A regulated marketplace for cannabis will eliminate the black market.”

Not true – experience in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado has shown conclusively that black market growing increases significantly under the cover of legal growing. Additionally, black-market pot available on the street can be bought for a fraction of the cost in regulated dispensaries, so the black market thrives. This price difference can be a factor of 3 to 10 times.

2. “We need retail stores to give “patients” access to their medicine.”

There are already dozens of delivery services in San Mateo County alone, and in the Bay Area for those who wish to purchase from the regulated market. Cost of pot delivered is often lower than cost of pot purchased in stores, because delivery services don’t have the overhead of maintaining a storefront. You can get your pot without ever leaving your home.  Retail storefronts in Half Moon Bay are not necessary to provide access for either medical or recreational use.

3. “This will save the farmers.”

This sounds good, but the answer is more complex. Many of us support local agriculture, and want to see it continue and thrive. But taking your chances as a farmer with a product which is still illegal federally, for which the marketplace is uncertain, and prices are fluctuating daily, which requires huge capital investment to upgrade greenhouse structures, has significant permitting requirements, and faces significant community opposition – that’s not something that all farmers locally want to get into.  Growing pot in greenhouses is not going to help the farmers growing brussel sprouts or hay. 

Much more likely is that outside influences come in to buy up local grow houses and licenses, bringing in their own workers, without any interest in, or connection to our community.

Using the blanket statement “this will save the farmers” is far from honest or accurate.  We know that opinion on growing pot is badly split within the farming community in Half Moon Bay and in San Mateo County.

4. “A regulated market for pot is necessary because black-market weed is toxic, loaded with pesticides and other dangerous chemicals which will hurt or kill you.”

Documented incidences of any harm from smoking black-market weed are exceedingly rare. The DEA has stated that there are no recorded incidents of death from pot overdose.

5. “69% of HMB voters approved Prop 64.  This shows strong support for the cannabis industry, from seed to store.”

Many people voted for Prop 64 to allow personal recreational and medical use, and to keep victimless crimes from resulting in jail time disproportionately affecting minorities.  The marketing for Prop 64 emphasized those benefits, but did not emphasize the commercial aspect of pot – growing, extracting, manufacturing and retail sales.  Many were unaware of these aspects of Prop 64, or just wanted the loosening of laws for personal use.  Many voting for Prop 64 are not in favor of pot growing and manufacture here in Half Moon Bay, or elsewhere on the Coast..

And that is what this election is about.

In summary, the cannabis industry is motivated to sell their product and their industry to the community, so that they can make money.  They are using sympathy for the farming community and for medical cannabis users as a smokescreen to gain support for the full industry of growing starts, mature plants, manufacturing potent extracts, and retail sales, primarily for recreational, not medical use.


Commercial cannabis – a bad choice for HMB!