This is in response to a letter in last week’s edition headlined, “Well-regulated cannabis can be good for economy.”

When many of us voted in favor of Prop. 64, our intent was to decriminalize marijuana based on the view that imprisoning youth, including a high proportion of minorities, was doing more harm than good to these individuals, their families and our communities. When the issue of establishing a marijuana industry was raised in our community, HMB voters supported the cultivation of starter plants in greenhouses but nothing more in terms of agricultural farming. Let’s watch and see how this turns out, but for now the decision should be clear. Voting results matter. 

To infer that we are losing an economic advantage that will filter down to the farmworkers by not cultivating mature marijuana is not a rational argument. The farmworkers will continue to be exploited and won’t share in any meaningful economic gains from growing marijuana, so let’s not posit baseless arguments. Many of these workers have young families and have indicated that working in marijuana cultivation is counter to the values they are seeking to instill in their children. Our role should be to assist these families in educating their youth by providing them with the skills necessary to thrive in our increasingly technology-based society. Moreover, working in an industry deemed illegal under federal law can pose a substantial immigration risk to noncitizen farmworkers. 

Much of Silicon Valley used to be farmland – and now it’s not. Our region has become a driving force globally in high technology and disruptive innovation. If Half Moon Bay truly wants to improve the economic prospects for farmers and workers, why not seek to work with universities like the University of California, Davis, Stanford, and/or local technology companies and use some of our greenhouses/farmland to implement advanced farming technologies and educational programs around these technologies? This could provide real opportunities for higher skills and wages for our hardworking families. 

— Virginia M. Turezyn, Half Moon Bay

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